Refreshment

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

Jackie carried out much knowledgeable weeding and planting this morning, whilst I cleared up the discards and conveyed them to the compost pile.

Garden view along Heligan Path

The early sun lit libertias standing in the Weeping Birch Bed,

Rose Garden 1Rose Garden 4Rose Garden 5Rose Garden 3Rose Garden 2Rose Garden 6

and enlivened the burgeoning Rose Garden.

Raindrops on clematis CarnabyRaindrops on clematisClematis Marie BoisselotClematis

Various clematises,

Clematis Montana

including this wonderfully scented Montana festooned over the front wall;

Weigela

the weigela winding down the south fence;

Aquilegias

ubiquitous aquilegias;

Rambling rose pink

the pink rambler on the front garden trellis;

Libertia, geraniums Ingwersen's Variety, campanulas

borders everywhere, like this corner sporting campanulas, libertia, and geraniums Ingwersen’s Variety,

Raindrops on irises

and the long Back Drive hosting splendid golden irises, relished their welcome refreshment.

Fly on primula

A fly alighted on one of the front tub’s primroses.

This afternoon I added a little more to my biography of an era including me. I now have a working title: ‘A Knight’s Tale’. I took more text, and

this photograph from ‘A Sneaky Weekend’

I then made some prints from recent posts for Louisa.

After this I joined Jackie in the weeding, concentrating my efforts on uprooting the more obvious infiltrators, namely the smelly white alliums, clinging ladies’ bedstraw, and golden buttercups occupying the wrong beds.

This evening, there being no table available at the Crown in Everton, we dined at the Smugglers’ Inn at Milford on Sea. Having starters was a mistake. The platefuls were excellent. Mine contained battered whitebait, plentiful fresh salad, and thick wedges of equally fresh bread. Jackie received a huge plateful of bread and olives. Each serving was a meal in itself. An even bigger mistake was, in my case,  ordering succulent sirloin steak, still more fresh salad, a mountain of perfect chips, onion rings, and fried onions, mushrooms and tomatoes. Jackie was treated to a huge bowl of cannelloni. more salad, and an equal number of chips to mine. Neither of us could finish our food, and we did not require a look at the dessert menu. The food was, I hasten to add, all extremely good, and the service impeccable. We both reminisced that, in our prime, we would have managed all this. Jackie drank Amstel, and I drank Doom Bar..

Regeneration

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS ACCESS GALLERIES THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN THE PAGE AND CLICKING THE RELEVANT BOX.

Today I was mostly digging up brambles and pruning dead branches from a yellow Japanese maple in the Palm Bed,

seen here beyond the Cryptomeria Bed stepping stones.

The red one was looking rather splendid in the morning light.

Magnolia Vulcan

The magnolia Vulcan, one of a row of shrubs lining the fence shared with Mistletoe Cottage, is about to flower for the first time. Like the others this was choked by the jungle that was the garden when we first moved in.

Rhododendron 1

Similarly a poor, spindly, little rhododendron that Jackie brought back to life, now shines its beacon in the middle of the Palm Bed. The roots of this were, like those of so many shrubs we inherited, pot-bound, and not properly planted.

Rhododendron 2

The pink rhododendron

Tree peony

and the yellow tree peony, have tied in the race to full bloom.

Iris

I am happy to say that my weeding of the Back Drive borders has freed rows of irises.

The viburnum plicatum is now brightening the West Bed shrubbery,

Weigela

and weigela drapes the south fence.

Apple blossom

Today’s final example of our efforts at regeneration has been affected by the light frosts we have been experiencing recently. The apple blossom suggested the tree has benefited from pruning, but the petals are now somewhat charred.

Hardly credible in April, the traditional month of showers, Jackie has today performed a considerable amount of watering.

The Raj is the current incarnation of the Indian restaurant constantly changing hands in Old Milton. Tonight we dined on their good quality takeaway food. My main choice was prawn Ceylon with special fried rice. We shared poppadoms, paratha, and onion bhajis. I drank Château Plessis grand vin de Bordeaux 2014.

Kingston Connections

AS USUAL, IMAGES MAY BE ENLARGED BY CLICKING ON THEM. REPEAT IF NECESSARY.

Given to me by Barrie earlier in the year, Neil Grant’s book ‘Village London Past & Present’, which I just finished reading, was a perfect adjunct to David Lawrence’s ‘Bright Open Spaces’.

The author’s style is both informative and entertaining, and the book is lavishly illustrated with photographs from the past and what was, to Mr Grant when published, the present. Much is made of the pace of change at a time when the Millennium Dome and the London Eye were both buildings of the future. Indeed, when studying photographs labelled ‘today’ in 1991, I found myself asking questions. Even my own ‘Streets of London’ series begun in 2004 is now history.

100 years ago, the metropolis was indeed a series of villages, and residences of, say Wimbledon or Dulwich cling to that term today. It is hard to believe that the un-idyllic Camberwell once harboured an eponymous beauty in the form of a butterfly.

Having lived and worked in various of London’s villages for most of my life, I am familiar with most of the book’s coverage. I have chosen just one area of the capital to illustrate this post and outline my connections.

Let me begin with 1966, the year when, as an Assistant Child Care Officer, I entered Social Work. My post ‘An Attachment To The Gates’ tells of what I did to the gates of Kingston’s Guildhall. For a good laugh, it is to be highly recommended.

Kingston Market

An important town in the Middle Ages, Kingston has probably the oldest continuing market in the country. It was in August 1972 that Jackie and her friend Linda set up a stall in this market, displaying their own hand-crafted goods. I encouraged my work colleagues to admire the contents.

Anglers at Kingston

Sometime later in the 1970s, Matthew was seriously into fishing. It is perhaps possible that it was somewhere near this bank of the Thames, seen in about 1890, that I accompanied him on such an outing. I was somewhat relieved that we didn’t catch anything.

Kingston was also where we carried out most of our mudlarking.

Today’s heavy rain had desisted by mid-afternoon revealing

Weigela and allium

a humble white allium paying obeisance to a weigela;

rose Jacqueline du Pre

bejewelled Jacqueline du Pre;

rose Absolutely Fabulous

sparkling Absolutely Fabulous;

Fungus on dead tree root

fungus breaking out on the dead tree root;

Dianthus Sweet William

the dianthus Sweet William;

clematis Doctor Ruppel

and clematis Doctor Ruppel.

Cow parsley

Anyone having read last year’s posts may be aware of a slight difference of opinion between The Head Gardener and her serf about the wisdom of welcoming cow parsley into our garden. This year Jackie has reinforcements. Apparently these plants are now in fashion. Naturally I now offer not even token resistance.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chicken jafrezi, mushroom rice, and parathas. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Llidl’s Bordeaux superieur 2011.

 

New Arrivals

Galium aparine

Cloudy sunshine and blustery winds greeted us this morning. I ambled around the garden and just a yard or two into Downton Lane where the minute flowers of the Galium aparine, known among other things as Sticky Willy, that we are trying to eradicate from our garden, are clambering around the verges; and where I met another group of radiant ramblers:Ramblers 1Ramblers 2

In the garden we now have:

Calibrachoa

Calibrachoas,

Weigela

Weigelas,

Weigela

Phlox,

Sweet William

and Sweet Williams, more welcome than Sticky Willy.

Unidentified shrub

We have not yet been able to identify this shrub which has wrinkled leaves. (Chris Poole later identified it as Viburnum Bodnantense.).

Erigeron

Jackie enjoys transplanting flowers from one area to another, often preserving those peeping up from paths. An example is the erigeron, plucked from the patio and placed in the former compost bed. She also popped a stem of watercress into the Waterboy’s pool.

Watercress

It has rooted, flowered, and proliferated.

Tomato seedlings

The head gardener has brought out a tray of tomato seedlings she has nurtured indoors.

We now have another clematis, similar to the one that rambles over our next door neighbours’ fence. This one climbs up the gazebo, so we also benefit from it.

Clematis - Version 2

The flower of the clematis is in fact the central section.

Clematis

What we take for its colourful petals are in fact modified leaves or sepals.

Perhaps the most surprising of our new arrivals could be the offspring of the toad Jackie disturbed last autumn. Spawn has arrived in the tiny pool created by our predecessors from a domestic cistern.Toad spawn

We don’t have any sunflowers yet, but it seems they do in Razac d’Eymet where our friend Judith Munns has just sold this stunning, beautifully composed painting:Judith's sunflowersOne of Judith’s Facebook friends has likened it to the work of Vincent Van Gogh. Maybe that would require a swirly sky.

Stair railsDoor repairLee Wilkinson, a joiner recommended by Aaron, today fitted stair rails on our rather steep cottage style route to bed. The paint on the treads and risers is just one piece of decoration we need to change when we get round to it. He also widened the jamb of the door into the master suite. It required the addition of the unvarnished strip of wood simply for the door to reach it. We have never possessed the keep for the Manx lock, but, as can be seen in the photograph, it could never have been correctly placed anyway. We will need to search one out. The red paint on the lock is an example of what we find everywhere, and why redecoration will be quite a major job.

This evening we enjoyed the usual friendly atmosphere and excellent food and service of Totton’s The Family House, for our dinner. We both drank Tsingtao beer