Possibly because I don’t have the required patience to sit motionless for hours awaiting their arrival, I cannot get near the woodpeckers that feed from Jackie’s dish. She, however, has been studying them for a couple of weeks from her kitchen hide, ‘through a glass [clearly]’. This morning, determined, she sat with the camera and was rewarded, first with the sight of one of the woodpeckers shooing off a baby blackbird, tits and a siskin; secondly of the siskin sneaking up on the other side of the feeder out of eyeshot of the bully; and thirdly of the rival woodpecker sending the first one packing. The young blackbird, not quite sure what to do when it does make it to the dish, wanders around on the box hedge and the grass, picking up scraps.
The squirrel described on 3rd of this month continues regularly to strive to reach the dish. Bolder in his approach, he crawls under the raised pots to climb the hedge towards his goal, then follows the procedure outlined in that post, except that he now attempts to break his fall by clutching at the hedge during his unplanned descent. This is less than successful. He clutches at the edge, scrabbles a bit, then, legs frantically gyrating, flops to the ground, and settles for picking up the birds’ droppings. When sufficiently recovered, he is off across the lawn like a bat out of Hell. Maybe, like Buster Keaton, he does all his own stunts. The silent movie star was a more proficient acrobat.
Reluctantly leaving this scenario we made a shopping trip to Ringwood.
After lunch we were off to The Firs for a gardening session. There was much weeding and watering to be done, but what took us there today was the sweet peas. Last year’s were so successful that Elizabeth decided to buy some more for this year. She found a specialist supplier who stocked no end of varieties and asked Jackie to suggest some she liked. She chose four. The seeds come in packets of ten. Some contained eleven. Forty to forty four seemed a good round number. My sister is one of those rare beings who gained pure maths and applied maths at A level GCE. Even I know that if you buy seventeen different packets of seeds you will receive one hundred and seventy potential plants. With a minimal number of extras that must round up to at least one hundred and eighty, a top score with three darts. Elizabeth had not just gone over the top, she had achieved a triple top.
It took Jackie the best part of two days to plant the seeds in trays, and today was the day to begin planting them out. The method chosen is to build a wigwam frame out of the carefully prepared bamboo shoots dug out of what is now the hot bed two years ago, and place three or four plants within each. The job is not yet finished. At that rate we will need a complete Native American village. Before she could even start on this task there was much other planting and watering to be carried out.
My task was weeding the stepping stone bed that had previously been an overgrown shrubbery.
Unbeknown to me, she caught me ‘lying down on the job’.
The whole garden is benefiting from the work we have put in. Particularly pleasing is the large, old, wisteria on the pergola, which last year didn’t do much at all. Jackie is excited at the progress of the clematis Niobe; and the numerous heuchera added to the existing ones last year are particularly enjoying the conditions. Elizabeth likes blending colours, such as in a rather pleasing purple and blue arrangement.
Jackie may have been building tepee supports for the sweet peas, but I think it is evident that today’s is her post.
This evening we dined with Elizabeth at Eastern Nights in Thornhill, where we enjoyed the usual excellent meals, Cobra and Bangla beer.