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China Girl blog 11th October 2017

How lovely are the early days of autumn. As the days shorten and the early mists rise across the meadow, the peace and quiet of falling leaves reminds Mother that there is much to do putting the garden to bed before the great feast of Christmas is upon us. The preparations for next year are at this time of year; cuttings are still being taken, whilst new shrubs are planted before the earth cools. Shortly there will be all hands on deck to plant the thousands of tulip bulbs in the meadow.

Already the succulents and tender plants have been brought into the greenhouse to over-winter. If the Agaves and all the desert plants in pots from around the garden are kept dry during the winter months in the unheated glasshouse, they should survive. This exodus from around the garden took about a week, as they were all potted on into a new well-drained compost with lots of Cornish grit to aid the drainage. Many come from desert regions and require lots of TLC.

Our garden tractor, a forty-year old Mitsubishi which is used nearly every day, gave up its years of hard work with a loud bang; it stopped working and that was that. Action had to be taken immediately. Ma, Wesley and I jumped into Ma’s aged car and raced off to see Sid, who sells just about every reconditioned machine on wheels. Within ten minutes, we bought a second-hand Japanese replacement tractor, reconditioned in Vietnam. Sid delivered it next day and it went into use just in time for bringing in the woodchip for our biomass boiler. This small red wonder is now part of our lives; if only I could drive it, I could go to Wellington and do the shopping on it! But oh, the cost of replacing machines which have died of old-age is horrendous!

Mother is busy making a beautiful almandine garnet ring, with much help from teacher Elaine. The stone, mined in India is a lovely violet colour; Elaine says the stone is quite rare and is Victorian. Ma is racing to finish it; she is so impatient, as soon as one project is started, she longs to move onto the next.

The memory of summer fades like light and shade; images of the past are ever-present, for the rhythm of the seasons always returns and soon it will be summer again.