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China Girl 10th May 2017

There is a magic carpet which leads to Cothay; a narrow high-banked lane, no wider than the carts drawn by oxen in years past. At this time of year the banks are clothed in wild flowers; bluebells, Queen Anne lace, Pink Campion, Snow in summer, Sweet Woodbine and many others, the names of which even Mother does not know!

The garden is full of late spring shrubs. The glory of them; all the wisterias, which hang like necklaces from walls around the garden. The gloriously fragrant Azalea mollis, coming in many shades, originally from China and Japan; crossed in the nineteenth century, raised from Rhodedendron japonicum and Rhodededron mollis. Vast numbers were grown in Holland and Belgium for winter colour in Victorian conservatories. Easy to grow in neutral and acid soil and hardy to -20oC.

In the Green Knight Garden, named years ago by a friend who saw the Green Knight ride through after a night of merriment. The wonderful white Tree Peony from China is in full flower, its huge blooms measure 30cm across; I counted twelve blooms, the best it has ever been. Grown in China since the fourth century, these Tree Peonies are hardy to -20oC and likes rich, well-drained soil.

The late spring, early summer days are a source of endless pleasure; each day there is some new surprise to marvel at.

Moses, Mother’s cat is not popular as he brought in a small bunny and ate it under the kitchen table at breakfast, leaving a dreadful smell! Again this year, as the weather warms, we are plagued by clothes moths and we had yet again to call in the exterminator.

Life, Dearest says, is a mixed bag; nothing is quite what it seems. A garden cannot blossom without love; it needs constant care and attention. Ma says we gardeners dig our worries away.