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China Girl blog 12th September 2019

Life ebbs and flows, like the tide coming in and going out. This is the rhythm of life and the way of the garden. September is or should be, a glorious month, with nature waiting to turn the colours their glorious golden.

Charlie and James came to stay for a night as they were going to a party nearby. When they arrived back in the early hours of Sunday morning, they found that Mother had inadvertently locked them out. Mother is very safety conscious at night, the house she thought was impregnable. Not so, as Charlie being very thin and agile and aided by James, squeezed over the top of the dustbin shed, dropping ten feet into the yard. By some quirk of fate, she found Mother had left the lavatory window ajar. How she managed to squeeze through is a mystery. The last person to get through the window was her daughter Anna, then aged five when her small two-year old sister had been unable to get out. The next day, Ma and I went to Cornwall with them for a rest. Lovely Cornwall we thought, had been spoilt by an explosion of bungalows.

This week passed uneventfully, with few people visiting the September garden. A group of gardeners from Berlin came; they mostly seemed knowledgeable and one of them was in charge of all the historic gardens in Germany. Somehow, a few people got mixed up with the group unbeknownst to Ma, who said “You speak very good English,” to which the reply was “That’s because we are English, and we live in Milverton!” They said in Berlin during winter the temperature plummets to -20oC. Ma thinks the end is nigh when the temperature falls to -6oC. Despite our moaning about the English weather, we now thank the good Lord we don’t live in Germany.

Flowering up the Gatehouse is the spectacular Campsis grandiflora, with huge orange, trumpet flowers; native of China, it requires hot summers to flower well.

Houttuynia cordata, a widely spreading native stretching from Japan, China, south east Asia to the Himalayas and onto Himachal Pradesh in Northern India, growing in damp shade. The leaves can be cooked like spinach or eaten raw; the plant is much cultivated in the mountains of western China and sold in local markets.

People often say the garden is so natural. Ma says there’s nothing natural about a garden. It is an art form, created by the hand of man.