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China Girl Blog 14th March 2019

Last week we all unwisely thought that spring had arrived; we should have known better! For the last seven days it has been miserable – cold and wet, with biting winds blown in from all directions, the cold, wet earth a misery to work on. However, despite this, all around there are tiny pointers of joy to come.

Mother and I were driving out of Taunton on the motorway slip road, when there was a hold-up due to road works. Mother stalled the car and stopped, whereupon to my amazement, the car door opened and a complete stranger  got in, saying “Thank you so much for stopping, I’ve been waiting for a lift for half an hour, I’m going to Cornwall.” As we were only going to the next exit, we left her at the next service station. Ma explained that she had not chosen a good place to thumb a lift on a roundabout, where cars were unable to stop. Our car is twelve years old and Ma says she would not give a tramp a lift, as it is full of earth and rubbish. We took it to the garage where a Romanian man valets cars inside out, £25 and one hour later it was sparkling.

Introduced into Europe at the beginning of the eighteenth century and here flowering as never before on the edge of the oxbow, is the most glorious single pink camellia, Camellia williamsii Mary Christina, one of the earliest x williamsii hybrids raised at Carhays in the 1940’s. Camellias are native to Asia, named after George Joseph Kemel, a Moravian Jesuit priest who travelled in Asia in the seventeenth century and named by Linnaeus after him. The Japanese use the oil expressed from the camellia seeds to dress their hair.

Tiny and unassuming, the Dog violets are one of the first spring wild flowers, hiding in the hedgerows and popping up in shady places, rather as if the fairies had scattered their seed just to surprise you. On a warm day, their sweet scent drifts in the breeze as you pass by.

Despite the miserable weather, work has to carry on. March has come in like a lion; let’s hope it goes out as the saying goes, like a lamb.