The House In The Wood

This afternoon Jackie, Flo, Elizabeth, and I visited The House in the Wood garden outside Beaulieu, under the National Gardens Scheme. The photographs can speak for themselves, although each one is titled in the gallery.

Beside Hatchet Lane on our return home we encountered our first foals of the season:

both donkeys,

and ponies, one of whom had some difficulty when attempting to suckle.

After the visit Elizabeth dropped off at her home en route and then joined us for dinner, which consisted of Jackie’s succulent sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots; and firm broccoli and cauliflower. My wife and sister drank the last of the Picpoul de Pinet; I finished the Fitou; and Flo drank water.

On The Brink Of May

Before watching the Women’s Six Nations rugby decider between England and France this afternoon I wandered around the garden to look at the flowers.

Blossom cascades from two crab apple trees at the front, where pink climbing roses

pink climbing roses cling to the trellis opposite the smiling pansies against the garage door.

Libertia and bluebells are both now ubiquitous,

As are these poppies which start the day in bloom and end it stripped of petals. My job is to dead head them so they will come again tomorrow.

White erigeron and pink honesty are also found everywhere, as in the Cryptomeria Bed, shared with

osteospermum.

We have a number of clematis Montanas, one of which shares the limbs of this lilac.

Various wallflowers are cropping up.

This wisteria has flowered for the first time, while the weathered camellia is showing it age.

Rhododendrons are in their prime.

Camassia and ajuga are more examples of small blue flowers.

We inherited this white blooming shrub from our predecessors. Can anyone identify it? Thanks to Carolyn (doesitevenmatter 3) for Snowmound or Spirea Nipponica

Finally, a few days ago this gravel would have harboured forget-me-nots and other little flowers which will settle anywhere. Now, it has been just one area in which Flo has undertaken strenuous weeding.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jackie drank Hoegarden, I finished the Cabernet Sauvignon, Flo drank Kombucha Raspberry and lemon, and Becky abstained.

Devastation And Dessert

Winds of up to 60 m.p.h. howled and heavy rain lashed throughout the night.

Regular readers will know that Jackie’s favourite view is straight down the garden from the stable door.

This is what it looks like this morning through the window in that door.

The wisteria arbour has been destroyed.

We did not investigate further in the garden. Instead we drove to Milford on Sea to look at it.

A bent branch hung down over Downton Lane. The Modus was just able to clear it.

The rain had desisted by 10 a.m. when fierce winds whisked curdling waves sent spray smashing into rocks, breakwaters, and the sea wall over which rapidly liquified spume droplets swelled a saturated shingle lake.

Gulls enjoyed floating on the thermals in the warm air currents.

When I last visited this spot a week or so ago a cleft in this cliff had not been quite so rent.

Later this afternoon Elizabeth visited to help me with the on-line Probate application. My sister is very tech-savvy, but even she came to an insurmountable block, so we gave up and had dinner which consisted of succulent roast lamb; crisp roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; tender green beans; mint sauce, and thick, meaty, gravy, with which Elizabeth finished the Comté Tolosan Rouge; Jackie drank Hoegaarden; and I drank Montaria red wine 2020.

Dessert was Jackie’s spicy pumpkin pie which she photographed after we had eaten half of it.

No Longer In The Shade

Once again we struggled in unaccustomed heat to thin out the rampant wisteria, and compost and bag up the clippings.

Jackie did most of the pruning and photographed the process before

and after her efforts.

As she said, she was no longer working in the shade.

Although the bulk of the composting and bagging fell to me,

the Head Gardener put in a chopping stint after lunch, when

we made more progress.

Fortunately we have secured a cancellation spot at the dump on 22nd.

The evening light as, in T-shirt temperature, we took our pre-dinner drinks on the patio, fell on

two socially distanced wood pigeons perched on the lopped cypress on the far side of the garden.

One flew of; the other remained unperturbed.

It was good to see that potted petunias and pelargoniums and fuchsia Delta’s Sarah.had perked up after recent watering.

We dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away second sitting with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Alma Da Vinha Douro Doc 2018.

Starring Seed Pods

Today, by our standards, unseasonably hot for September, was definitely one for sprinkling the garden.

Even the wicker owl appreciated its shower.

By late morning we had become too heated to complete our work on pruning, cutting up, and composting the wisteria, seen here from above and below.

While taking the overhead wisteria pictures I added some more general aerial shots;

back at ground level the Brick Path and its arches; and the Gazebo Path, returning to my puzzle theme with “Where’s Jackie?” (5);

and the Triangular Bed beside the iron urn.

Today’s starring seed pods are on an ornamental allium.

The temperature rose as the day progressed; the sun became veiled by voluminous hazy clouds; the atmosphere increasingly oppressive. Late in the afternoon, in order to shake us from somnolent stupor we drove to Ferndene Farm Shop to buy some vegetables and eggs. There were no eggs.

For the last week or so, this outlet has been selling live chickens from its stock in the next door field. This has been because the older poultry do not lay in the quantity needed for a commercial enterprise. They are replaced by younger models and offered for reduced domestic production. Apparently the new birds haven’t yet got into the swing of things.

Afterwards we took a drive into the forest.

Along Holmsley Passage, tails constantly whisking, ponies dotted the landscape.

So it was for the rest of our journey, for example along Bisterne Close where we encountered

a mare and foal. Like all the youngsters, the stubby little tail didn’t seem adequate for seeing off the flies

and this infant had me backing off at a rate of knots in order to maintain focus as it attempted to brush off its flies with my beard.

On our return via Holmsley Passage ponies slaked their thirst in the rapidly diminishing wayside pool.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bordeaux.

Hot Gardening

At different times in this very hot day I have shared watering duties with the Head Gardener and carried some of her refuse to the compost bins.

Jackie has continued potting and tidying. When possible she sits and lifts the containers on any available surface.

The wisteria draped over its arbour here offers her a modicum of shade.

Blue solanum scales the arch in the first picture

 

and aquilegias share its bed opposite the greenhouse.

Nugget is very busy transporting food from the feeders outside the stable door. Before filling his beak he pauses above or below (clue) his hanging larder and when loaded takes off round the corner like an Exocet. Interestingly he will carry on regardless when we are outside, but if we are sitting inside the slightest movement cause him to flee. We suspect he cannot recognise us through the glass. He does feature in this “Where’s Nugget?” (73), but it would be so difficult to find him that biggification would probably be essential and I won’t be offended if anyone gives it a miss.

These potted pelargoniums have survived the winter.

Bonny bluebells are ubiquitous.

These in the back drive border stand beside vinca, bronze fennel, and cascading Erigeron.

 

We have several different varieties of rhododendron, two of which grace the Palm Bed.

This solarised cockerel lights the Pond Bed at night.

The yellow diurnal poppies have caught up with the orange ones which now require my daily dead heading attention.

Pink campion thrives beside the Lawn Bed.

For your Eyes Only, seeking shade,

and Crown Princess Margareta, attractive to flies, are two of the roses now blooming in the Rose Garden,

in which we now have abundant apple blossom.

No matter how many are pulled up by Jackie and Aaron, we cannot eradicate the wayward white alliums which produce clusters of minute bulbs seen here in the Weeping Birch Bed.

Osteospermum spills over its container on the edge of the concrete patio.

Woodpeckers Care Home has informed us that one of the residents has been admitted to hospital with coronavirus. Each remaining resident will be confined to their room for two weeks during which each member of staff has been equipped with suitable PPE. Mum is quite relaxed about it saying that she, who doesn’t mix with other residents anyway, has largely self-isolated as long as she has lived there.

We are about to dine on Jackie’s wholesome chicken and vegetable soup with crusty bread from the freezer. She will drink Peroni and I have already started on the Rheinhessen.

 

A Paint Job

This morning, before dawn’s light had penetrated neighbouring trees, I photographed

the wakening garden from above.

Aurora first fingered the wisteria;

the crab apple

and the Amanogawa blossoms.

 

 

Aaron of A.P. Maintenance gave the shed two coats of paint,

then drank a mug of tea while, at a suitable distance, I admired his work and we came to the conclusion that we should have a crack at running the country together.

Afterwards I made him prints of this set of photographs and those of “Where’s Aaron?”.

This evening we enjoyed pre-dinner drinks on the decking and watched tiny airborne hoverflies floating around

red and gold Japanese maples;

flecked laurel leaves;

 

Brown Turkey ficus fingers;

and deep magenta rhododendrons – all kissed by the evening sun which

pencilled patterns around the Copper Beech bole,

and imparted a gentle glow to Florence’s sculpted cheek.

Our subsequent meal consisted of Jackie’s perfect pork paprika, cayenne and three chillis speciality, with which I drank more of the Bordeaux, her Peroni having been consumed on the decking.

 

Avian Courtship

Jackie spent this, the hottest afternoon of the week, continuing her work of tidying and planting the garden,

I spent some time collecting up debris for the compost bin and sweeping paths like those named Brick

and Gazebo.

 

The strong sweet scent of the swinging wisteria penetrates

the closed stable door during the evenings.

A pair of Orange Tip butterflies seeming to savour honesty flittered about.

The clematis Montana Mayteen planted to mount the

now limbless cypress overlooking the Dragon Bed.

The light magenta blooms of Magnolia Vulcan beside the tree have benefited from the light revealed by the amputations;

while this red climbing rose we inherited, no longer having the arboreal arms to reach for, may follow the Head Gardener’s directions.

The velvet petals of these deep mauve tulips Queen of the Night

were intended by Mrs Knight to blend with the potted varieties planted in the Rose Garden at the same time.

Unfortunately the recent winds stripped the earlier blooms until, almost overnight the late risers yawned, stretched, and opened their eyes a couple of days ago.

These red wallflowers complement various locations;

similarly hued rhododendrons,

like these in the Palm Bed, are beginning to burgeon –

bench, box, and bluebells indulge me by continuing the alliteration.

This evening, as we enjoyed pre-dinner drinks on the patio, we witnessed an avian courtship.

On the far side of the garden a wood pigeon who didn’t fancy his chances, turned his back on the proceedings on the eaves where

another, attempting to look suave, winked

at his prospective mate – for life – prostrated himself

and gradually nudged towards her. She feigned enough interest for him to repeat the movement until he became close enough for her to fly off teasingly. Naturally he played his part and followed in pursuit.

We dined on tender roast lamb; crisp roast potatoes and Yorkshire; crunchy carrots; tangy red cabbage; and meaty gravy, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Mezquiriz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Head Gardener’s Photoshoot

We had fun this morning helping Louisa – on the telephone, of course – to provide clues for an Easter Egg Hunt for Jessica and Imogen. Jackie came up with one of the best: ‘Toying with this clue will shed light on the answer’ would lead them to the toy shed in the garden. Because there are no sport programmes on Sky, Errol has cancelled his subscription to the sport section of that provider. Louisa and I between us managed ‘Not so much Sky can be seen here. Poor Dad’ – this for the family T.V.

This afternoon I entered the front garden with the intention of watering the pots. I found Aaron had already done it. That was a result.

Jackie took the garden photoshoot today, so all I needed to do was put all this together.

It was a good wheeze to place tulip pots on a table to obtain these angles.

As can be seen from these shots and the view across the garden to the bare copper beech, Aaron moved the blue wooden table and chairs back onto the patio for the summer.

A range of daffodils continues to delight.

For her focus on honesty the Assistant Photographer chose the bed beside the greenhouse and the Dragon Bed. This year she could have found it almost anywhere.

Her ammi seedling is progressing nicely.

Ajugas are often small and retiring. This one stands proudly erect.

The large wisteria is sending out its grape-like blooming bunches.

Buds about to burst include perky peony

and ornamental onions.

Stained glass songbirds swoop over a startled metal owl.

Erigeron bend well with either iberis,

or osteospermum;

angels wings contrast with red Japanese maple and carmine pelargonium.

Jackie is particularly enamoured of the yellow maple in the Palm Bed

Aubretia brightens edges of paths.

Whoops. I pressed publish prematurely. We are having wholesome soup for dinner this evening. Like me, you will have to guess what it is.

 

Decidedly Not Smart

A number of terra cotta and yellow kniphofias have self-seeded at various places in the garden and have recently chosen to bloom rather late. These are in the Kitchen Bed, accompanied by hibiscus, petunias, Japanese anemones and fennel.

This begonia and the pelargonium are recovering from near death with the benefit of Jackie’s tender care.

Like the white Marie Boisselot glimpsed in the bottom of the Kitchen Bed picture, this pink and blue clematis and the wisteria are producing their third flushes of the year.

I paused, this morning, to photograph this happy planting of pelargoniums, fuchsias, and Japanese anemones in the front garden before embarking into the car for a trip to Woodpeckers to visit

Mum, now well enough settled into her room to have hung her favourite pictures, one of which is a drawing I made in about 1958 when my sister would have been four and I would have been sixteen years of age.

It portrays Elizabeth watching the family’s first decidedly not smart dodgy black and white TV set.

Leaving Mum to her lunch we took a diversion around Burley on our way home for ours. On Bisterne Close we trailed a young woman riding a white horse.

Although dull, it was another warm day, which brought out flies again prompting ponies to cluster under the trees.

Jackie spent the afternoon in the company of her avian under-gardener who continually converses in the sweetest, almost imperceptible gentle whisper. We can just watch his throat pulsating. He spent some time in the cryptomeria above her head, dropping down to a terra cotta lantern beside her.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (21)

This evening we dined at The Wheel in Bowling Green. The food and service were as good as ever. We both chose tempura prawns as starters, with salad so fresh as to have possibly been immediately picked from the garden. Jackie’s main course was thick meaty burger with chunky chips, salad, and onion rings; mine was an excellently cooked rib eye steak with chips, mushroom, tomato, peas, and onion rings. Jackie drank a guest lager which we can’t remember and I drank a good Malbec.

When we arrived a robin greeted us from a hedge in the car park. For a moment we wondered whether Nugget had arrived before us.

Back at home I watched the recorded highlights of the first day of the final Ashes Test match.