A Variation On “Where’s Nugget?”

While I was drafting yesterday’s post Jackie nipped into the garden for a matter of minutes to take photographic advantage of

the last rays of the setting sun. From this end of the Back Drive (take note of the larch beyond the compost bins on the right) she focussed on

the Virginia creeper and accompanying Japanese anemones.

She also caught a pink rose with which I hadn’t been successful earlier on.

 

The golden light in the background picked up the the tips of the cypress tree;

the weeping birch,

Japanese maples,

and more.

Today, while the Head Gardener continued with her bed clearance, taking occasional trips to make sure she was safe, Nugget kept the enemy from the gate.

He perched on a tree midway,

puffed himself up,

had a good shake,

and a preen;

until he decided he looked hard enough to take on

his rival who was switching between the hawthorn and the larch on the Back Drive.

So, for a little variety “Where’s Nugget’s Rival?”

This evening we dined on Jackie’s nicely matured liver and bacon casserole; crisp Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, parsnips, mushrooms, and butternut squash; crunchy carrots; firm Brussels sprouts and green beans, with which the Culinary Queen drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Saint-Chinian.

 

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.

 

More Than She Could Chew

Aaron works in all weathers. This morning, however warm enough, was even too wet for him. He visited anyway and we enjoyed a pleasant conversation over tea, coffee, and biscuits.

Afterwards I watched England’s World Cup Rugby match against Tonga.

Although this afternoon the skies remained overcast, the steady rain let up; Jackie worked on cuttings in the greenhouse; and I tried to photograph

Nugget without his getting too much under my feet as he darted back and forth after prey.

“Where’s Nugget?” (28)

Rosa Glauca hips and pelargoniums are just two examples of wearers of glistening pearls;

Virginia creeper perspired precipitation,

which weighed down one solitary bedraggled wasp’s antennae.

We have never before had so many nuts dropping from our copper beech. They have to be swept up daily, the husks making good mulch.

Later, with the sun made fairly regular appearances, we drove out into the forest.

One flock of sheep occupied the green at Bramshaw

while another streamed out onto a side lane.

A lone pony was carrying out lawn mowing duties at Nomansland.

Pigs, such as these at Landford, sought out mast;

we wondered what this one at Fritham had caught. soon we realised that

she had trapped a rat

and that she had bitten off more than she could chew. Jackie exclaimed that this sight had permanently put her off pannage pork.

We took the lane leading from Fritham down to Eyeworth Pond where

small birds flitted to and from the trees and the peanuts birders had left on the posts.

An inquisitive cow raised its head in the woodland,

and ponies enhanced the moorland landscape.

This evening we dined on fish pie and a medley of carrots, cauliflower, greens, and runner beans, all perfectly cooked al dente. We both drank Albarino 2017.

The Early Evening Light

This morning I completed my mega filing task while Jackie carried out more planting under the watchful eye of Nugget

with whom she happily conversed. “Where’s Nugget?” (25).

Beside the Weeping Birch Bed with its kniphofias, petunias, heleniums, and pelargoniums.

The yellow kniphofia is Popsicle Mango; the terracotta one has attracted a wasp.

Small White butterflies and bees still cluster around the verbena bonariensises.

continue to thrive.

Autumn crocuses have arrived.

The Rose Garden, the Palm Bed, and the Oval Bed glow with aureate colour;

spiders have spun fine chains for golden seeds;

Virginia creeper is beginning to take on a ruby hue,

with which penstemons are trimmed.

Early this warm and sunny evening we took a drive into the forest.

I disembarked from the car on the road between Brockenhurst and Beaulieu.

I walked along a gravelled path and over the dry terrain,

the sweeping sounds of my sandals answering those of the jaws of the ponies cropping the grass they shared with a few cattle joining them on their way in from the verges.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s usual fine fare with which Jackie drank Blue Moon and I drank sparkling water.

Pictures For An Exhibition

Today we toted five more canvas bags of tree cuttings to Efford Recycling Centre.

Jackie tipping cuttings

The Head Gardener was prevailed upon to bear the strain of this one as we tipped the contents into the vast container, thus allowing The Photographer to carry out his primary role.

This time we returned with a stout wooden table suitable for the garden. I understand it was there yesterday, but it was asking too much for Jackie to pass it up two days running.

Samsung phoneAfter our last trip this afternoon, I attempted to make a phone call. My mobile seemed to be dead. Eventually I managed to get something onto the screen, but it was scribble. An urgent trip to Lymington’s Carphone Warehouse was in order. Two very helpful young men were staffing the shop. The immediate diagnosis was that the screen was cracked. This meant the phone could not relay information from the works. We decided upon a new instrument which would require a new contract. All went swimmingly until I was asked for my bank account number. I didn’t have it. Jackie, who had taken refuge in Costa’s for coffee and cake, had to down both in a hurry and get me home and back in the 25 minutes available before the shop closed. She made the twelve mile round trip in 20 minutes. I took out my new contract and received  replacement phone.

All my contacts are lost, and I must ring O2 tomorrow to have my number transferred to the new SIM card. As its seems likely that I cracked the phone in my pocket whilst humping the bags of cuttings, Jackie brightly asked me exactly how much her dump table had cost. I’m a little calmer now than I was then.

I received a rather good surprise from The First Gallery this morning. The April exhibition, for which I had submitted the albums on the making of the garden, thinking that they would be supplementary to the main performance, is now to be focussed on our garden with painters and sculptors providing additional material. Between trips to the dump and the later thrills, I trawled my collection to gather together more photographs for prints of varying sizes. Here are a few:

View from kitchen garden

View from the kitchen garden as it was on 26th July 2014;

virginia creeper, calibrachoa, and fuchsia 2 30.9.15

Virginia creeper, calibrachoa and fuchsia 30th September 2015;

Allium

allium;

Mum (Jackie and Elizabeth hidden) - Version 2

Mum negotiating Phantom Path 6th July 2014;

Butterfly Small White on verbena bonarensis 29.9.15

Small White butterfly on verbena bonarensis 29th September 2015;

Chair and bed head

and chair and bedhead on Weeping Birch Bed 12th March 2015.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb sausage casserole, mashed potato, and crisp cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli. Se drank sparkling water and I drank Via di Cavallo chianti 2014.

Before And After: The South End

Were the barometer on our garden wall in good working order it would no doubt indicate ‘wet and warm’. Perhaps, at 18 degrees centigrade it had the temperature right. Full sunshine, however, we definitely did not experience.

The leucanthemums in the front garden are some of the plants cut back for the winter by the Head Gardener.

Leucanthemum

This one was having none of it.

It may come as no surprise that one album is insufficient for the garden record. Late yesterday afternoon I therefore ordered two more from Harrison Cameras in Chesterfield. They were delivered just after noon today. I call that an incredibly good service. I then stuck the Shady Path section of the story into the first album, and prepared the next set, The South End this afternoon.

The essential surface in this area is of concrete, we think laid down for Post Office vans in the 1930s. Stretching from the Oval Path to the Back Drive, a number of raised beds border and cross it.

Wall of raised bed - a glimpse

We reached this project on 6th June 2014. It was somewhat daunting,

Pile for burning and hose

especially as the burning pile, seen here on 23rd, restricted access.

Jackie in SW corner 3Jackie in SWcorner 4

By 4th July the pile had been cleared and we had made enough progress for a little table and chairs to take its place. The little brick pillar covers a protruding metal spike that we think was part of a washing line post. I eventually hacksawed it off.

Washing line

A washing line is coiled around the makeshift fence that was the original barrier to the back drive.

Jackie in bottom of garden

By 16th, the bed just inside the garden had been cleared.

Aaron shifting rubble

On 22nd March, the barrier down, Aaron assisted in clearing rubble,

planting-barrier 1.6.15

and by 1st June Jackie had begun building a row of planters to replace the fence.

Shingled concrete 6.9.15

The concrete surface, now merging into the drive was shingled by Aaron on 6th September,

Virginia creeper, calibrachoa (Million bells) and fuchsia 30.9.15

at the end of which month the setting was able to burnish the heavily pruned Virginia creeper, the calibrachoa in the hanging baskets, and the fuchsia beneath.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish, chips, and pea fritters, followed by Jackie’s deep, flavoursome, apple pie and custard. I drank Doom Bar.

Before And After: The Weeping Birch Bed

Aaron came to work this morning. He took out the last remaining tree stump from the lawn; cleaned the pipes and windows at the front of the house; and reset the post at the side gate which had come adrift.

Virginia Creeper and hops on Gothic Arch

The Virginia Creeper mingling with rose hips on the Gothic Arch, with the yellowing birch leaves in the background, are still about the only climatic signs of autumn.

I did further work on the album of progress in the garden, making the following prints:

Brambly bed

On 12th June 2014 the Weeping Birch Bed was somewhat overgrown. Note the bramble.

Bamboo arches in

The next day, I began assembling the golden arches in an attempt to support passion flower and honeysuckle.

Jackie working on Weeping Birch bed 1Jackie working on weeping birch bed 2

By September 2015 it was clear something had to be done about it, so Jackie set to.

Weeping Birch bed 1

This is what it looks like today. Note the three separate supports which have replaced the golden arches. This is because the two rambling plants mentioned above actually originated further into the bed. As now expected, there was much rock and concrete buried therein, and Jackie discovered that a good half of the bed was very shallow, having been laid on the concrete that covered the far south of the garden. As usual this has been recycled as stepping stones and edging.

Weeping Birch Bed 2

This up to date view takes us across the Heligan Path and through the Cryptomeria Bed towards the house.

As the light faded whilst we sat in the rose garden with our pre-dinner drinks, the mosquitos probably attracted the bats flitting across our vision. This was an opportunity for me to tell Jackie the story of the pipistrelles.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi, special fried rice, and naan from the Co-op, followed by egg custard. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Parra Alta malbec 2015.