Monday, 16 August 2010

Our Weekend

I must start by apologising for leaving it so long since my last post. I kept meaning to come to the keyboard and put stuff down, but as I am sure most of you can agree, life doesn't let you sometimes. Loads and loads of bits have gone on both at work and play.So many different things in fact that I'm going to make this post about the weekend, and my next one about work stuff.
And start..........
We woke up on Saturday morning. Well, to be more accurate, I woke up and went downstairs whilst Amanda continued to sleep. Brewed a cup of tea and went through to the lounge to check emails and stuff. As you can see, Hobie was taking a leaf out of Amandas book. About an hour later, noises came from upstairs signalling that my wife was about to join me. We sat together chatting over our morning cuppas, and decided to spend the morning doing a bit of work in our own garden.

Amanda, now fully refreshed, set about some trimming and dead heading with gusto. It takes me a little while longer to look quite so radient on a Saturday morning as the old joints and muscles are still reeling from the weeks work, but I soon limbered up as they say!

Our Hibiscus syriacus 'Bluebird' is a very large shrub that up until this spring was growing in one of the borders. I don't know why, but it never seemed to quite perform, and so this year saw it transplanted into a huge tub, and WOW!...what a difference. Masses of flower all over, but I was feeling all arty and decided to take a close up of one of the gorgeous blooms.

The Ehinopsis seem to have come and gone at an incrediible rate this year. So fast in fact that in the few days that I forgot to take a picture they have gone past their best.

As common as muck I know, but busy lizzies always add a certain lush feel to an area, but only if they are used individually in pots amongst other things. Plant them en-masse and you get a whole different feel from them....for me, not a good one as in my estate gardening days I planted quite literally hundreds of thousands of the blighters. The New Guinea variety are a particular favourite of mine.

Buddleias, you either love them or hate them. Amanda likes the darker varietied such as 'Black Knight', but for me it has to be 'Royal Red' or something similar. Again, an arty close up of a Buddleia flower.......isn't mother nature brilliant!

At the end of the garden is my office, and by this is a cool area of the garden where one can relax at the table under a large red parasol. The scene above is of some of the garden from this table. The copper sprinkler is brilliant, sending huge spirals of water all over the place. When the tap is turned on it's a case of just get out of the area!

I love Sambucus, and this variety called 'Black Lace' will grow huge if you let it. This one however is near the cool area and has to be pruned two or three times a year to keep it down. A superb flower display is followed by berries, which are fabulously metallic looking.

I can't for the life of me remember what this dwarf Crocosmia is called. Any ideas? Nonetheless, a lovely and free flowering plant.

Looking down the path to my office, and if you turn right at the end you will find yourself in the cool area. The office is a lovely and peaceful sanctuary where I can concentrate on the boring paperwork that there always seems to be masses of. Also in the office is a sofa bed for guests, fridge, kettle, toaster and fitted wardrobes....not bad eh? Oh, and did I mention the large screen computer/entertainment system? Quite the 'blokes den!'

Amanda decided that it was time for the remainder of the Lamb Kefta for lunch. We were both really hungry by now and she makes this from scratch and I must say it is superb with spicy cous cous.

Of course, even us professional gardeners miss things when watering sometimes, and so to replace a couple of things in pots that had died, we got hold of these two lovely orange begonias.

Before we knew it, the afternoon was upon us, and we decided to drive to Poole, park up at Baiter Park and take the short walk along to the quay.

Poole town itself is a pretty grotty place. Mostly horrible shops and horrible people, but the quay is really quite different. The home of a small fishing fleet, Sunseeker yachts and the RNLI, it always makes for a lovely and relaxing walk. The picture above is of the view from the car park at Baiter, with the walk taking you to the quay further along.

And of course, Sunseeker don't only make yachts here, but many wealthy people keep their own moored up. Here there was a good contrast between the small Sunseeker in the background and the fishing boat in front of me. Just out of sight to the left are crates full of cockles piled high.

Along the quay are several original pubs. The Nelson, The Portsmouth Hoy and here above The Poole Arms. This is the place to come for a pub crawl I can tell you. On a Tuesday in the summer, the quay is opened to Biker Night, whereupon thousands of motorcyclists bring and park their machines and 'talk bikes'.....great fun!!

Then it was finally home, and a delicious dinner of venison sausages with roasted aubergine, courgette and peppers...oh.....and a little glass of red wine.
Sunday morning, and off to our local church. A special service as the pastor and his wife
were renewing their wedding vows after twenty five years of marriage. This all ended around midday and by this time we were ready for coffee and so off to Soho Coffee House it was. After the events of Saturday and then the morning, our body batteries were running a bit low by now and so a short afternoon doze was needed. And of course Hobie had to include himself!
We were woken a while later by a phone call from Amandas dad inviting us to join them at The Haven Hotel, and so how could we refuse?
The drive around the harbour on such an evening was breathtaking.

Coffee and beers were brought to the table and the evening commenced. Amanda as ever makes herself at home.

I mentioned in an earlier post about my father-in-laws allotment that he has just started to work on clearing. Well, some fellow allotmenteers who had a glut of produce already, made gifts to him of various vegetables, and so a cluster of marrows came into the hotel lounge with him as a gift to us. It certainly looked rather odd, but marrow is my favourite vegetable, lightly steamed and simply covered in white pepper....yum!

I think they are smiling because I now have a cluster of marrows around my feet in a four star hotel cocktail lounge......hmmmmm!

But alas, the evening had to come to an end and we all headed off home to settle down for the night. The only thing is that I had completely forgotten to finish the quote for the big landscape re-vamp mentioned in a post a few times ago. So whilst Amanda chilled out with a warm drink and a good book, I resurrected all of the paperwork, the calculator, a pen and the laptop, got my coffee and buttered raisin bread for energy, and set to work. Finally finished at one in the morning with Amanda asleep in bed, but YES!......had it ready for posting this morning! Now all that's needed is to see if it's accepted and so fingers crossed.


  1. Dear Gary, I have the perfect solution for you and A when you finally retire from the gardening business - G and A's comprehensive food and drink guide to the South Coast. It seems to me that you have an intimate knowledge of every watering hole between Lands End and The Wash!!

    And what super food you always have at home too. Perhaps the 'Guide' could be sprinkled with your favourite receipts and, of course, tips on how to track down delicatessen delights such as the venison sausages. How the two of you remain so sleek I have no idea since just one glance at those sausages for me and the extra pounds would be in evidence instantly.

    Your garden looks beautiful and is a great credit to you both in what has been a challenging season and, August I always feel is a tricky month for plants to be looking good. In particular I loved your dark leaved Sambucus and the cool green area which surrounds your office, or should I say outdoor hotel?!!

    I hope that your week is going well and good news of the new project will come soon.

  2. Gary, I can not tell you the envy I feel for you and your "Office" (lol). If I was so lucky to have one like yours I would have to rent out the house because I would be spending all my time in it (lol). - G

  3. Love the Sambucus! Have the same one in a pot on our deck. The berries are incredible - I am now way psyched. Great photos by the way!

  4. Hi Edith,
    Thank you for your lovely comments. Unfortunately, I only know so many watering holes because of a mispent youth I think, although since I have known Amanda, we have built up our own little collection of gems for a rainy day.
    I must admit that my wife is a fantastic cook, but we don't always have such exotic fare as the once I post, we have been known to eat plain old bangers, mash and frozen peas too!

  5. Hi Gary,
    If you ever come over to the UK you are more than welcome to use it. I said that we used it for guests, when in fact if anyone we know comes to stay, they have our room and we set up home in it as it is very comfortable.

  6. Hi ONG,
    Thanks for the comments. Indeed, Sambucus are top knotch shrubs. We have both the Black Lace and golden Aurea varieties, and they never cease to please.

  7. I do believe you are one spoiled man. A beautiful wife who cooks from scratch for you, romantic adventures together . Yes, spoiled for sure.

  8. Hi Gina,
    I am blessed in so many ways, but I take none of it for granted as it could all be gone tomorrow. I like some of the stuff you are selling on your site.

  9. Hi Gary...reading your blog has made my day, which started out with a small accident and drive to the hospital. But all is well now, so I came home afterward and found your comment on my blog, and feel much better now.
    What a lovely garden and interesting life style you have.
    And I think Hobie is a great name for a cat! My brother in Canada has the Hobie-cat that sails in water!
    Regards to you and Amanda, Sharon.

  10. Hi Sharon,
    Really sorry to hear about your accident, but pleased to know things are alright now.
    Thanks for the nice comments. Hobie was originally my father-in-laws cat, but we inherited him about six years ago. He was indeed named after the Hobie-cat that sails on water, as my in-laws have one!