“It’s Their Road, Not Mine”

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Eucalyptus shadow

We enjoyed another splendidly sunny summer’s day. In the garden the eucalyptus cast its welcome shadow across the grass;

while tulips, daffodils, wallflowers, and cowslips glowed in the sunshine.

At lunchtime I received a date for my first knee replacement. It is 18th May. I have never heard of anything so fast. This afternoon I undertook the blood test for the hip replacement check. Jackie having driven me to Lymington Hospital for the latter, we continued into the forest.

The primrose bank alongside the stream in Royden Lane was also streaked with shadows. A pair of cyclists happily rode by at an opportune moment.

Horses in field

I imagine the hay heaped in the field opposite was essential food for the horses a week or so ago. Now the grass is coming through again.

This land may have dried out now, but parts of the forest, like this area outside Brockenhurst, were still waterlogged. Instead of shadows we were treated to reflections of trees, some of which had fallen. After such wet periods as the terrain has recently endured, there are always more fallen trees. Often the roots rot and the giants topple.

Two ponies, dozing under a railway arch may, perhaps, two or three weeks ago have used this shelter as an umbrella; today it was a parasol. A pair of cyclists skirted the animals in order not to disturb them. “It’s their road, not mine”, said the leading woman.

Orange berberis flamed in the hedgerows outside Exbury Gardens, while white wood anemones, yellow celandines, and little violets festooned the banks of a dry ditch opposite.

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak. Jackie enjoyed a huge portion of chicken tandoori, while I tucked into an excellent rib eye steak cooked exactly as I asked. Jackie’s drink was Amstell, mine was a rather good Argentinian Malbec.

 

 

Even The Dog Knows……

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Helen and Shelly visited this morning for coffee, scones, and a trip round the garden.

Unfortunately the sun disappeared during their visit. My later photographs saw better light.

Red campion

This red campion is allegedly a weed, but we like it.

Roseriae de l’Hay now flaunts her flounced skirts in the Rose Garden;

Poppy

larger deep orange

Yellow poppy and allium

and small yellow poppies are flowering;

Lamium

mauve lamium lines the Brick Path;

and a blue clematis climbs the gazebo.

The tour along the Back Drive reveals clusters of creamy May blossom; two varieties of iris; this year’s honesty; white libertia, red and yellow wallflowers; sculptural euphorbia; differently hued heucheras; roses rambling and bushed; daisy-like erigeron; geraniums, including Johnson’s blue; wispy bronze fennel; deep red valerian; and no doubt much that I have missed.

After lunch we transported the two large orange bags of clippings to the Dump, now known as the Efford Recycling Centre. Making up for having left empty-handed last time, we came back with two tables and a mirror for the garden. As we turned into Christchurch Road a dog on a lead was taking its own dump on the corner of the verge. While its back legs still frantically tossed up various items of herbaceous vegetation, the desperate creature was dragged away by its owner. I observed that even the dog had more idea about cleanliness than she did. My comment was made inside the car, as Jackie, who hadn’t seen the event, drove us away.

Later, while the Head Gardener continued tidying, weeding, and planting, I gave the buddleia in the Palm Bed such a severe trim as to refill one of the orange bags with the cuttings.

There was plenty left over from yesterday’s Indian takeaway for us to have second helpings this evening. I finished the Fleurie. Jackie had consumed her Hoegaarden on the patio earlier.

A Sparrow in Swallow Drive

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Jackie continued with the weeding of the rose garden today, whilst I wandered with the camera.

Tulips are now in bloom.

Tulip 2

This one really did come from Amsterdam, courtesy of Danni and Andy who brought it back for us.

A bank of yellow primroses fronts this striated group at the entrance to the back drive,

Wallflowers

along which golden wallflowers are massing.

Rhododendron

Our first rhododendron is beginning to flower;

Japanese maple

 Japanese maples are coming into leaf,

Cherry blossom

and a deep pink cherry blossom is blooming.

Saxifrages

Saxifrages planted last year are thriving.

Wasp

Clearly confused as to the season. a sleepy wasp staggered about.

This afternoon we went for a drive.

The tide was high at Keyhaven, where the wreck was now submerged,

Boats and Hurst lighthouse 2

and the Hurst lighthouse clear beyond the line of moored boats.

Mallards (purple headf)

A purple-headed mallard and mate basked on a lichen covered wall;

Coot and white bird

and a white-headed coot paddled past a white bird hiding in the reeds.

In view of Hurst spit swans waded, foraged, and drank. One bore a tide-mark causing speculation about what it had been swimming in.

Among those silhouetted on the spit were a woman and two children,

and two young women. In each group there was one person engaged in a mobile phone conversation.

Sparrow

We took a diversion around a housing development in Milford on Sea. Given that these streets all bore the name of a different bird, I wondered what a sparrow was doing on Swallow Drive.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb beef cobbler, sautéed potatoes and mushrooms, with crisp carrots, cauliflower and purple sprouting broccoli. The Culinary Queen drank sparkling water while my drink was San Andres Chilean merlot.

A.P. Maintenance

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In the garden this morning, envious of the attention given to the daffodils yesterday, many other plants clamoured to be photographed.

Readers may have noticed a hyacinth lurking among the daffodils. Here are a couple more, one seeking camouflage from the as yet uncleared autumn leaves.

Cowslips soar from the soil at the bottom of the back drive.

Along the beds there we have perennial wallflowers and primroses. That lady’s bedstraw will have to come out.

Alliums

Alliums are beginning to proliferate,

Grape hyacinths

and grape hyacinths are popping up.

Some bulbs, like these forcing their way through geraniums

Bulb unknown 3

or these from between patio stones, we cannot identify. The second, thanks to Rusty duck’s comment below, I can now say is Ipheion uniflorum. Geoff, thebikinggardener.com has added this information: ‘The first one – the pinkish one, is Chionodoxa ‘Pink Giant’ and the next one is Ipheion uniflorum as you say – although it has just had its name changed to Tristagma. (not just a minute ago)’

Aubretia

Some aubretia seem almost fluorescent.

The tiny clematis Cirrhosa now festoons the gazebo.

Jackie spent the morning clearing the garden beds, while I transferred the residue to the compost heaps.

Anyone who has followed this blog for the last two and a half years will know how invaluable Aaron, of A.P. Maintenance has been. He gets through a phenomenal amount of work on his regular Sunday morning visits. Today, for example, not only did he finish weeding the back drive, but he also

fixed the House sign into position at the front of the house

and pruned the crab apple trees in order to promote fruit for next winter’s blackbirds.

Old Old Post House sign

Jackie’s sign has now been switched to the other side of the entrance.

Ponies in the New Forest are normally to be seen fending for themselves. They are naked but for their own hair which generally lengthens during the winter; and they have to find their own food. Late in the afternoon, we drove out into the forest where, close to Linford, I spotted an equine group who appeared to be enjoying hotel facilities. They were all chomping away at a large hay bin, and one wore a rug. Like young children at the trough, more of the fodder landed on the floor than reached their stomachs.

The five-barred gate on which I leant to photograph the diners bore the sign for Newlands Farm. On our return home I Googled the farm. It was indeed a horse hotel of sorts. This is what their website has to say:

“Newlands offers you over 75 acres of well-managed grassland. We offer two types of grass livery care packages,with amazing riding from the farm gate directly onto the open New Forest , with no roadwork at all.

The farm is superbly located being less than 3 minutes from the market town of Ringwood yet set right within the New Forest National Park. The farm is run and situated alongside New Forest Livery and Training. Newlands is a professionally-managed farm providing superb grazing and care packages for your horse combined with access to superb outriding.

Grass Livery – Horses at grass are either :

– Visited regularly by their owners, or

– Retired/resting, ‘Owner-Away Option’, where owners visit less often, so we maintain the care.”

This evening we dined on Mr Chatty Man Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away’s delicious fare. I finished the Fleurie while Jackie drank sparkling water.

Perseverance Rewarded

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Until 2.30 p.m. when Jackie drove us to Brockenhurst to collect our friend Sheila who is staying with us for a few days, she continued sterling maintenance in the garden while Aaron and Robin continued with the fencing.

Erigeron

The erigeron outside the French windows featured as part of yesterday’s kitchen door shot. Here is a close-up of some of them.

Walking down the back drive to open the gate for our two marvellous garden maintenance men, I admired, on the bordering beds,

Snapdragons

snapdragons;

Wallflowers and valerian

wallflowers and valerian;

Rose Félicité Perpetué

and rose Féliticé Perpetué, now draping the dead stumps.

Rose garden 1

Rose garden 3

The heucheras in the Rose Garden provide stiff competition for the roses themselves.

Rose garden 4

Here, the geranium palmatums lead us in,

Aquilegias, Schoolgirl and Golden Showers

and aquilegias front Schoolgirl and Golden Showers.

Rose Ballerina and honeysuckle

 Ballerina dances with honeysuckle alongside the entrance arch.

Rose Hot Chocolate

The rose Hot Chocolate in the front garden is, however, just ahead of that in the back.

Rose pink climber

Rose deep pink climber

Festooning the front trellis are two different depths of pink roses.

View from Crytomeria Bed

Here is a view across the Cryptomeria Bed to Elizabeth’s Bed.

Rose peach bush

The peach coloured rose photographed yesterday is further open today.

Hoverfly on For Your Eyes Only

The smallest hoverfly I have ever seen landed on For Your Eyes Only.

Bee on stick

I have striven for a long time to capture a bee in flight. Today my perseverance was rewarded.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s lemon chicken, mashed potatoes, peas, and carrots. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, I drank more of the Fleurie, and Sheila drank water.

Early Morning Lovemaking

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Now, please don’t get too excited. It’s birds I’m referring to. Pigeons, to be precise.

Pigeons 1

Pigeons 2

I am no good at sexing birds, so I’m not sure which was which in this couple, although I suspect that it was the female who remained aloof whilst her suitor performed on the trapeze.

Pigeons 3

Not greatly impressed, she turned and flew away.  He swivelled on the high wire and set off in pursuit.

Jackie continued her mammoth weeding and planting in the garden.

Bamboo roots

My contribution was digging out bamboo roots that had strayed into the gravel of the Oval Path. This also involved lifting border rocks and replacing them after removing the interlopers. Afterwards I ambled around with watering cans, and, of course, a camera.

Tulips, daffodils a,d pansiesTulips and daffodilsTulip mix

We are daily enjoying new tulips,

Parrot tulips

including these parrots.

Wallflowers 1

We inherited some prolific yellow wallflowers along the back drive.

Wallflowers 2

Encouraged by them Jackie added these beautifully red-veined ones last year,

Erysimum Redjap

and these varicoloured erysimum Red Jeps quite recently.

mesambryathemums

Another recent planting is mesembryanthemums,

Red maple bed

seen here in situ beyond the russet heuchera.

It was so hot this afternoon that we took cold drinks on the Castle Bench because it was in the shade. There is a little table each side of the seat for drinks. Jackie sat on the right. I sat on the left. She is left-handed. I am right-handed. Work it out. Until she twigged what was going on, we both rested our glasses in the middle of the bench. Then we swapped positions, and there was nothing between us.

This evening we dine on Jackie’s delicious sausage casserole, carrots, cauliflower, and new potatoes. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the fleurie.

How Many Bees In This Post?

Snake Bark maple skeleton

Jackie and I spent the morning on an enforced feat of forestry. With the head gardener’s advice, guidance, and assistance I sawed off a myrtle branch that had been twisted by the gales, and then performed an autopsy on the snake bark maple. This latter tree has, sadly, died. We performed emergency amputations last autumn, but it failed to recover. I therefore cut down the highest branches, leaving the skeleton as a frame for climbing plants yet to be determined. I protected my left hand with a padded cycling glove purchased by Jackie in the lucky dip that is Lidl’s central aisle. With a certain amount of trepidation I teetered on the step ladders made stable with a wedge or two. It is amazing how hard this dead wood was to cut through.

The thinner limbs I chopped into combustible sections for the next bonfire. This afternoon I sawed up the thicker ones for our wood burner pile, and Jackie continued with her creative planting. After a few yards amble down the lane, I called it a day.

Bee on dandelion

In the lane, a bee flitted from dandelion to dandelion as I tracked it, eventually catching it.

Allium

Wherever you look in the garden, a wide variety of alliums is to be found.

Iris

On the back drive, we are hoping recently planted antique parchment pigmented irises will thrive, thus emulating

Valerian and wallflowersthe rather more strident valerians and wallflowers.

The Chilean lantern tree is a-whirr with leg-loaded worker bees.

Bees on Chilean Lantern tree 1

How many can you spot in this shot?

Bees on Chilean Lantern tree 2

And in this one?  Clicking on the images will help.

This evening we dined on tangy smoked cod, creamy mashed potatoes, piquant cauliflower cheese, firm sweetcorn and peas, and crunchy carrots. We both drank Heritage de Calvet white cotes du Rhone 2014, and a good accompaniment it was.

Smoked cod meal