Five Years On

Today was another thoroughly wet one, so I decided to try a bit more than a test print with my new Epson.

It was in May 2014 that we took on the neglected jungle that was our garden. Soon afterwards I began to compile a kind of before and after record of the project, in extra large photo albums.

Now, five years on, I have decided to update this work. I began with the Back Drive. Here, for comparison is what it looked like in June of that year.

Today I printed a collection of photographs from May,

June,

September,

and October, this year.

Jackie’s borders contain asters, foxgloves, geraniums, hostas, poppies, roses such as Doris Tysterman and Ernest Morse, viper’s bugloss, and Virginia creeper, all of which can be seen in these photographs; and much more.

This time in 2014 we were burning so much on this space.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes;  crunchy carrots and cauliflower with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.

 

Multiple Occupation

Although a little drier than expected, today remained largely overcast. Just before lunch Jackie took me on a tour of what she has achieved during the last few days in the garden. It struck me that I have never really shown the packed multiple occupation of our beds.

While listening to the men’s Cricket World Cup match between New Zealand and South Africa, I rectified that this afternoon.

The Kitchen Bed is faced by sweet peas, foxgloves and others beside the wall. Fuchsias, day lilies, antirrhinums, erigerons, ferns are all at home in the bed.

The Butler’s Sink beside the Patio contains petunias, foxgloves, geraniums, heuchera, and bidens;

one view of the bed includes a pink diagonal of fuchsia, geranium palmatum, and clematis.

Bees were investigating the orange poppy sharing the small triangular Wisteria Bed with day, lilies, fennel, and roses.

Geranium palmatums and fuchsias are among the occupants of the Dragon Bed.

Ferns, day lilies, and geranium palmatums, fuchsias, alliums, and more pack the Palm Bed.

Spirea goldflame, penstemon, bottle brush plants, day lilies, ferns, etc all wake in Margery’s Bed.

Youthful hot lips and an ageing rhododendron occupy the Cryptomeria Bed on the opposite side of the Phantom Path.

A pot containing fuchsia, geraniums, and others stands beneath the Westbrook Arbour

and above the West Bed where we find astilbe, pulmonaria, and lamium among others.

Erigerons, aruncus, lamiums, geraniums, fennel are among the residents of the Weeping Birch Bed.

Fuchsias and feverfew are found in Elizabeth’s Bed.

The Oval Bed has its share of Day Lilies.

The Rose Garden contains more than roses. Heucheras, lavender, and fennel are examples.

It is a year or two since we created the New Bed, but, like the thousand plus year old New Forest, it retains its name. Erigerons, solanum, clematis, and ferns are there maturing nicely.

It is hard to remember how overgrown with brambles and crowded with rocks and detritus was the back drive when we arrived. These previously non-existent borders now contain roses, poppies, hostas, geraniums, foxgloves, and viper’s bugloss among the many plants at home there.

This evening we dined on more of Jackie’s superb sausages braised in red wine; served with creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots, cauliflower and broccoli, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Cono Sur Bicicleta Reserva Pino Noir 2017.

In A Flap

As I walked down to the Back gate to open it for Aaron early this morning I passed

the delicate pastel shades of Penny Lane which will have a powerful fragrance later in the day;

oriental poppies which have stubbornly clung to some petals despite the recent gales;

abundant Félicité Perpétue draped over a dead stump;

and rich red Ernest Morse.

A myriad of bees were already engaged in packing their pollen sacs.

Two masquerading as others were a striped hoverfly and a green shield bug.

A somewhat tattered Red Admiral fluttered by, occasionally pausing to rest.

The roses on the front trellis have been so weighty of late as to pull down their support. It was one of Aaron’s A.P. Maintenance tasks today to strengthen this section.

This afternoon we took a drive into the forest. First stop was Setley Ridge Garden Centre where Jackie bought some more trays of plants and I photographed

a bee on an ageratum.

We then took the Sandy Down route to the east.

There was a little delay on the road to Beaulieu as a foal was shepherded across the road.

At East Boldre several somnolent ponies occupied the road. Others, including a foal, snoozed on the grass. Unmoved, those on the road played havoc with the traffic of which they were oblivious for some time. One dappled grey seemed to have dislodged its reflective collar.

Suddenly, silently, the entire group took off for Masseys Road. The previously recumbent foal soon caught up.

Dangerously foraging on the verge of South Baddesley Road three ducks diced with death. The white one was sent out scouting. Eventually it got in a flap trying to convince its leading companion that crossing the road was not a good idea.

This evening we dined on a rack of pork spare ribs marinaded in sweet barbecue sauce and Jackie’s vegetable rice, with which she drank Blue Moon Belgian style wheat ale, and I drank more of the Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Woman In White

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Early this morning our septic tank was cleared. This happens every eighteen months, and Jackie always feels better when it is done.

Knowing we were in for a hot spell, Jackie undertook extensive watering. My tasks involved the eradication, cutting up, and bagging of niggling nettles, invasive ivy, bothersome brambles, and thrusting thistles.

This afternoon we spent much of the time seated on the patio with guests. First Margery and Paul came to lunch, then Helen came bearing birthday presents for Jackie for tomorrow.

Naturally the garden was a focal point.

Gazebo Path 1Gazebo Path 2

Here are two views of the Gazebo Path.

Rose Just Joey

In the Rose Garden, Just Joey

Rose Winchester Cathedral

and Winchester Cathedral have joined the other attractions;

Foxgloves in Rose GardenMargery, however, registered a protest at the number of foxgloves permitted therein.

Poppy in Margery's Bed

She was, however, pleased to find a poppy in her Bed.

Rose Compassion

Compassion rose now proliferates above the Dead End Path.

Sweet Williams

Here is a smaller version of Sweet William that the one previously featured.

Poplar leaves

The leaves of this variety of poplar are delightful at this time of the year.

Bee on viper's bugloss

As promised, viper’s bugloss does attract bees,

Bee on geranium palmatum

as do geranium palmatums

Bee on yellow Bottle Brush plant

and the still burgeoning bottle brush plant.

Florence sculpture

The strong sunlight gives the Florence sculpture the air of The Woman in White, Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Zippel’s musical based on the novel by Wilkie Collins, that was playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre when I photographed it in September 2004.

Alpaca Poo

Among the selection of presents Helen brought was a bag of Alpaca Poo, a garden fertiliser apparently unpleasant to rats.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome beef in red wine with mushrooms, peppers, onions, and carrots, served with swede and potato mash. Jackie drank Peroni and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2014.

Opulence

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Once more, today was scorchingly hot. Apart from gentle tidying up, watering was the order of the day.

Garden view towards Rose Garden

The hose in this garden view was trained on the Rose Garden, where

Rose Garden 1

pink foxgloves, golden heucheras, and blue clematises romp among roses like the yellow Laura Ford, and deep red roseraie De L’Hay;

Rose Garden 2

where pink Summer wine, and white Madame Alfred Cariere cover the blue wooden entrance arch;

Rose Garden 3

where Summer’s sculpted image just manages to peep through For Your Eyes Only;

Rose Jacqueline du Pré

and where Jacqueline du Pré has been fortunate to find shade.

Poppies 1Poppies 2Poppy 1

Giant poppies blaze in the first view above.

Bronze fennel, poppies, Canterbury bells

There are more alongside Canterbury bells and bronze fennel on the north side of the Back Drive,

Viper's bugloss and geranium palmatum

where viper’s bugloss, given to us by Giles in order to cater for bees, burgeons before geranium palmatums;

Rose Dearest and libertia

and where the buxom rose Dearest can just about hold up her head.

Clematises and gladioli

Clematises and gladioli thrive in the row of deep plastic window boxes that divides the Back Drive from the garden proper.

New Bed

Alongside this display stands the New Bed.

California poppies 1California poppy

We have California poppies in the Cryptomeria Bed,

Rhododendron

on the other side of which my favourite rhododendron is now blooming.

The last three days of sunshine have brought opulence to the garden.

This evening we dined on roast lamb, mashed swede and potato, carrots, cauliflower and runner beans, all cooked to perfection by the Culinary Queen, who finished the Bergerac blanc while I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon.

Out Of The Corner Of My Eye

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Apart from June, August is possibly the best time to appreciate Jackie’s planting design. I wandered around this morning with that specifically in mind.

View from Brick Path 1

This view from the Brick Path takes in the planting of the small triangular bed at the intersection of this path with the Gazebo one. Phlox, pansies, bidens, and violas are in evidence. The cosmoses occupy the iron urn, and the geraniums a stone one. The chimney pot on the grass patch fills in the middle distance en rout to the South end.

View from Brick Path 2

Looking along from the other side, we pass through the Agriframes Arch which bears a new clematis. This latter plant has taken over from the rambling rose, Wedding Day, now spent for this year, and consequently cut back by The Head Gardener.

View along Gazebo Path 1

The cosmoses in the aforementioned  iron urn form the foreground of this view through the gazebo to the Rose Garden. The gazebo bears its own well-stocked hanging baskets. Nicotiana sylvestris and agapanthus can be seen on the left.

View across grass

The contents of the chimney pot on the grass fill the foreground of this view past Florence, also culminating in the Rose Garden. Several hanging baskets supplement the range of blending colours.

View across Margery's Bed

Stepping across to the other side of the grass, we can look across Margery’s Bed with its newly planted lobelias, leading us to the Rose Garden entrance. Lilies can be seen in shade on the right, and clematis Star of India is trained around its obelisk. Hanging baskets are also in view.

View across Weeping Birch Bed

Hanging branches of the Weeping Birch drape its eponymous bed beyond which we reach the Southern fence. The white gladioli glow in the distance. I’ll stop mentioning hanging baskets. You get the picture.

View towards Back Drive entry arch

Again looking to the Southern boundary, beyond a stone urn supplied with begonias and geraniums, on the left of the entry arch to the Back Drive, stand a few potted tomatoes. A white solanum and purple clematis entwine the dead tree by the New Bed.

Rose Garden

Some corners of the Rose Garden need the assistance of plants inserted for the purpose of variety, in order to give them time to begin their next flush.

Rose Garden bench corner

This view takes advantage of the hydrangea in Elizabeth’s Bed. The erigeron at the foot of the bench is another cluster of offspring from those outside the French doors.

Bee on St John's Wort

Before leaving the Rose Garden, I treated myself to one close-up of a bee blending into St Johns Wort.

Kitchen Wall

As I’m not going to mention hanging baskets, I can’t say much about the kitchen wall, except that some of the containers are on the ground or tables that can’t be seen.

Patio Corner

At the far end of the above view lies the patio. Here is a corner of it.

Butterfly Small White in flight

Now, why did I include this out of focus repeat of the second Brick Path view? Well, out of the corner of my right eye I saw something about to happen, panned rapidly across the scene, and made a fortuitous capture which should be visible, in focus, without enlargement. Can you spot it? There’s no shame in enlargement.

Viper's Bugloss

When Giles visited with Jean a couple of days ago, he brought Jackie a couple of viper’s bugloss plants. These grow tall with blue flowers which hold a great attraction for bees. Jackie planted them on the Back Drive this afternoon.

This evening we enjoyed our second sitting of Mr Chatty Man Chan’s Chinese cuisine. Jackie drank Becks and I drank Doom Bar.

A Wildlife Garden

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DID I MENTION THE CRICKET?

It is two years since we were last assisting our friend Giles in opening his garden in Milford on Sea. Once more, today, we took the first stint in his rota.

Jackie on the door

Overnight rain had only recently desisted at 11 a.m., so Jackie, on the door, had plenty of opportunity to work on her puzzles,

Giles and visitors

while Giles and I chatted until the first visitors arrived.

Wildlife Gardening Award Certificate

Blu-tacked onto the entrance window is a well-deserved certificate.

Giles's sculpture 1

Beneath this is one of the gardener’s creative sculptures, made from found objects. The upright stone was once part of a window in Southwell Minster.

Giles's sculpture 2

Here is another from the bottom of the garden.

Giles's sculpture 3Giles's sculpture 4

This one contains examples of his stained glass work,

View through sitting room window

as does this view from the sitting room, showing the artefact on which stands his tree encircled by butterflies.

Giles's sculpture 5

A further creation on the decking is seen through the French windows.

Giles's garden 1

Visitor

Pebbles and granite sets creating paths and other features were all collected over a number of years from on and around the nearby beaches.

Giles's garden 3Giles's garden 4Giles's garden 5Giles's garden 6Giles's garden 7

Seventeen years ago, this rambling haven was almost completely grassed over. It is now packed with trees, shrubs, and other features attractive to wildlife.

Raindrops on smoke tree

Raindrops still pilled on the fibres of smoke tree;

Raindrops on foxgloves

foxgloves;

ClematisClematis, thistle, wildlife hotel

clematis;

Raindrops and cricket on osteospermum

and osteospermum – even on the little cricket’s antennae.

Wild Life Hotel

A notice visible in the second clematis picture indicates and lists the uses of the wildlife hotel;

Viper's Bugloss

another extols the value of viper’s bugloss to bees.

Lupins

I expect these latter enjoy delphiniums, too, although blue is Giles’s favourite flower colour.

Hut

Had the rain persisted, no doubt this hut, with its natural seat, would have filled up with visitors;

Pond

certainly the pond would have topped up with water.

This evening we dined on the rest of the Chinese Takeaway, and both drank Kingfisher.