Perhaps I Am Ready For A Bus Pass

When we arrived in Downton last year, the garden was so overgrown that, by the time we began to tidy up some of the shrubbery, many blooms had died off and we didn’t know what we were working on. We did, however, leave enough in the ground to give them chance to display their wares this year.Unidentified shrub

One such is this shrub that we have not been able to identify. Any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated. (Jackie has now discovered that this is a lonicera tatarica – Tartarian honeysuckle – from Siberia)


Our small yellow poppies have now come out to play with their orange companions.


The weaver has completed the erigeron carpet outside the patio doors.

Clematis Montana

The clematis Montana we retrained last year up the tall dead tree trunk, has thrived and begun to bloom.

I have been advised against gardening until my stitches are removed on 5th May. This means that the head gardener has to continue for another week without an under-gardener. One of the many tasks she is working her way through is defining the edges of what we magnanimously call the lawn. This is what the currently untidied section looked like this morning:Lawn edge untidied

and this is the corner she has trimmed:Lawn edge tidied

The task involves defining the edge with a spade, forming a small trench by tossing up some of the stubborn soil, and moving self seeded plants, such as the Japanese anemones, to other areas which need them.

Lock-up 1Lock-up - Version 2Jackie was spending the afternoon with her sisters in Christchurch, and my knee was improved enough for me to think I might manage the half mile walk up Downton Lane. She therefore drove me to the green at Milford on Sea, where I intended to sit for a while and return by bus to the bottom of the lane. On the edge of the green is a lock-up somewhat overgrown with ivy. I photographed the whole scene in colour, in order to show the pink blossom in the background. However, inspired by, I then produced a black and white image that that inspirational photographer in the obvious and hidden series would no doubt have given a suitably cryptic title.

After this, an inspection of the bus timetable revealed that there was one due in two minutes, and thereafter not another for two hours. I took the earlier transport. Never having used this local facility before, I had no freedom pass, and therefore had to pay for the short journey which would normally have taken no time at all. Perhaps I should apply for a free service.


I managed the walk and noticed that the oaks stretching across the lane to meet the opposite pines are now coming into leaf.

This evening we had a surprise visit from our friend Anne who lives in Athens. We all dined at Lal Quilla, and had an enjoyable time catching up with each other. Jackie and I drank Kingfisher. Anne’s choice was the house white wine.

19 responses to “Perhaps I Am Ready For A Bus Pass”

  1. I love riding on buses; I don’t have a car. I know I would get a free pass if I can 🙂 Can’t ID your mystery bush, I’m afraid. I’m better with things you can eat (I’m Chinese) 🙂 We have the erigeron in spades; tends to take over. Made popular by Edna Walling, our famous landscaper so it’s also known as the Edna Walling daisies here. I love the yellow poppy.

  2. The beauty of not knowing the name of a plant is that you and the Head Gardener can call it what you like; “The Pink Thing”, “Love’s Labour’s Never Lost”, or whatever. You’ve inspired me to try the local buses here in New Zealand – I get a free ride (being a pensioner) between 9am and 4pm.

  3. Derrick do you know ‘Monochromia’ on WordPress? That is a blog that publishes b&w photos from an array of photographers who take turns publishing. Joe of who is ah absolute hoot, heads it all up. Not only might you enjoy seeing the work from other great photographers, but you might also like to take part………?

    I don’t know if it is just me, but the lawn edge untidied photo isn’t loaded. Everything else is loaded just fine. And looks lovely! It’s grey and cold here today and the ground is strewn with yellow to brown leaves ……. Enjoy those blue skies and bus rides!

    • Thank you Pauline. I do see Monochromia from time to time, but I prefer to use my blog as a diary/life story. I hope the lawn edge untidied picture is available now. Sometimes they do lose them. But never mind, it’s not a pretty one.

  4. No help with the shrub. Maybe one of the Knights of Ni could ID it. Like Mary, I’m much better with food but with the addition of trees to my expertise! Glad you could have a walk. Pretty soon you’ll be back to under gardener duties!

  5. The garden is looking lovely, even with one man less to do the chores! I think your mystery shrub might be Lonicera tatarica…but it doesn’t match exactly what I remember those to look like (they aren’t much grown in Australia, so I have to go by memory)

    • Thank you Matt. You have named the shrub correctly. Mary Tang, from Sydney, tells me she remembers it as more of a scrambling plant, but our book tells us it can be a shrub. We will know more when it has more fully developed

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