Playing Gooseberry


This morning we continued Spring clearing in the garden. My task was dead heading the hydrangeas.

One of Jackie’s was to clean out the Waterboy’s pond. He nodded his approval.

The Head Gardener was extremely excited about her corydalis flexuosa ‘China Blue’ which is apparently hard to grow.

Another euphorbia is flowering in the front garden,

where the winter flowering cherry has blushed continuously since September.

Sitting on the Castle Bench when I had finished my gardening I engaged in a game of peep-bo with a collared dove in a shrub that has become a tree. This creature kept lowering its head out of sight, then popping up briefly.

Collared doves 3

At least, that is what I thought I was playing. But, hang on a minute. What was this?

Collared doves 2

Do you see?

Yes. There were two. I had been playing gooseberry.

Collared dove 2


This afternoon we went for a drive in the forest.

Pool, gorse, reflection

The Shirley Holms corner beyond Sway is still pretty waterlogged.


These young ponies found a dry patch to have a lie down;

Pony rising to its feet

although my attention prompted the larger one, looking almost as awkward as I would, to rise to its feet.

Pigeons in flight

As I returned to the car, two pigeons took off into the skies.

Primroses decorated the bank of a stream by the roadside at Sandy Down,

Horse eating hay

where horses in a field chewed hay,

and snake’s head fritillaries shared berths with daffodils and more primrose.

Magnolia stellata

Steff’s Kitchen is attached to Fairweather’s Garden Centre in Beaulieu. We took coffee and water there, where a magnificent magnolia stellata shed confetti over the tables and the grounds.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s beef, peppers, mushrooms and onions cooked in a rich red wine sauce and served with new potatoes, carrots, and Yorkshire pudding. I drank more of the shiraz.

79 responses to “Playing Gooseberry”

  1. I love the snake head fritillaries. I’d never heard of them before reading your post yesterday, and here they were again.
    In the U.S. We don’t play “peep-bo.” It’s called “peekaboo!” I’ll have to remember your way and pop it into conversation sometime.

  2. A post full of peace and I thank you…We’re getting some of the same blossomings! Love those textured finely designed fritillaries– I didn’t know they were called that. (I think we call them a different common name.) Such a relief to have a little more sun, though our rains has continued, threatening to flood our mighty rivers in our area.

  3. I’m especially enjoying your photos, Derrick. We had early, warm temperatures that resulted in early bloom on so many of our trees and plants. Sadly, a hard freeze came and did extensive damage. So, thank you.

  4. When I was growing up in England; playing the gooseberry referred to someone doing something mean, knowingly. Like spying on a young couple having a small hanky panky session,and deliberately being seen by said couple.
    Spoiling the fun I suppose, it’s been a very long time since I’ve heard or thought of that expression.
    Beginning to wonder where the ponies were, but luckily you found some.
    Did you put some carrots out?

  5. Primroses growing in the ditches!! I used to buy them in pots every late winter and love that they scatter themselves generously in their native environs. I enjoyed the dove series as well, and like that twice you have taken a picture of something recently that Jackie is pleased with because ‘it is apparently hard to grow.’ Made me grin both times!

    • Hello Lisa, I expect that some where in the country or the world my ‘difficult’ plants grow like weeds! My lovely NZ born Tess(daughter in law) pointed this out when I proudly showed off some (I don’t remember what now)plant and she remarked that it grew by the roadsides in NZ. The only ‘secret’ to gardening is to grow the right plant in the right place, job done, not rocket science really! But I do enjoy a challenge and this delicate blue plant is SO lovely. It’s yellow cousin IS a weed over here and grows every where!

      • It was exactly that, and the fact that it involved a gardening conversation that made me grin at Derrick’s comment–and here, believe me, there are no primroses in the ditches and they’re hard to grow in gardens.

  6. You are quite the Midas, Derrick. Everything you touch becomes magical. I loved your little gooseberry with the camouflaged doves. I am already in love with the folks in your garden. The jungle is as exciting as Enid Blyton could have dreamed. Everything is so tranquil and inviting.

  7. My father always said ‘Goose-gogs’ and I still remember fondly him saying to my mother when she was following my first love and I found the house rattling incessantly: ‘Darling… We don’t want to be the goose-gog, do we?’ …. I blessed his sensitivity as I do often did 💖

  8. I loved taking this stroll with you, your appreciation of nature and attention to detail and landscape – such a variety of perspectives. I especially like photo of the tree where the pigeons take off and the and the horse chewing hay. And the confetti.

  9. So good to see wild primroses, and yes its that time of year when our gardens need those tidy up jobs Loved the Birds, and Ponies.. and Primroses.. And wow that blossom.. All wonderful shares Derrick.. Happy Gardening and enjoying your countryside.. magical. 🙂

  10. I enjoyed the “peek a boo” dove or partridge duo on your tree and would have wanted them to be more bold! Come out, come out whoever you are!
    I looked at the handsome shiny coat on the worn but rising horse. He is very nice looking and slightly amusing with hay or straw hanging out of his mouth. The white blossoms against the brilliant blue skies made your description of a magnificent magnolia the perfect match. 🙂

  11. Your travels and photographs of what you see while traveling are great. Makes me want to get back on the road again taking trips. We have a trip coming up soon, but I am not sure I could do justice to whatever we see as you have with your pictures.

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