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China Girl blog 16th August 2017

Tumbling through the year the air is heavy with the feel of autumn, although it is still only mid August. There is a clear sense of time passing, the velvet days of summer passing into autumn are full of nostalgia. The garden is like an old gentleman’s waistcoat bursting at the seams.

The great joy of the week is the fixing of the medieval cross above the oratory, which sits over the ancient porch. In past times, people passing through the gatehouse would look up and see before them the cross above the chapel and know that those who dwelt here were blessed by God, for their house was a holy place. Compared to life today, life in medieval England was harsh, but there were many compensations.

We had a couple staying whose forebears had once lived at Cothay from 1609, when it was sold to the Everys and the catholic Bluets were forced out. Their coat- of-arms is carved on the over-mantle in the dining room. The couple were full of nostalgia for the past.

As we walked through the garden, the sun came out; what a dreary August it has been, hardly a day without rain. In full flower is the shrub Clerodendrum bungei, native of western China, where it grows in wood and scrub and is hardy to -10oC. The attractive leaves smell like tom-cats, but the large pink flowers are beautifully scented. A very useful plant for August, here it reaches three metres, however it can be cut to the ground in the autumn and it will flower at half a metre the following year.

The white garden is still at its best, the white phlox is sweetly-smelling, whilst the glorious perennial sweet pea Wedding day has reached three metres.

Mother says we are so lucky to live far from the crowded modern world, however it does mean driving five miles if you run out of milk!

As for me, the ditty goes: “The Pekingese have feathered knees, and plumes where tails should be. And as they race about the place, they ripple like the sea”

I am, I know, the apple of my Mother’s eye!