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China Girl blog 16th May 2018

As the warm May days drift by, the garden is like a chamber of dreams; the still air is full of bird song, as the baby ducklings on the pond emerge from their shells.

Harry and Dan have been joined by another Location Manager, ramping up the preparation for the film; each day the preparation grows more and more frenetic! The Green Team have turned the meadow into a mass of flowers, which mingle with the late-flowering tulips and Camassias. Real and fake flowers jostle together, so it is hard to tell them apart. On the lawn by the pool are dozens of what appear to be bluebells. Ma was asked by a visitor what variety they were, as she had only seen bluebells on single stems! Ma and I chuckled in glee as neither of us had seen such flowers!

Many of the props have arrived and Ma hopes they may leave some of them behind; a pretty iron gate and a stone path are on her wish list. The Art Department have done an amazing job placing strips of lead over the office windows to match the leaded lights on the upstairs windows, changing the appearance of the yard, which looks charming. And so it goes on. We don’t think we will recognise the house when we see the film.

In the garden flowering in pots are the striking Myosotidium hortensia, known as Chatham Island forget-me-nots. Their bright shiny green leaves like pleated material, with huge sky-blue flowers. The RHS dictionary writes that they are difficult to grow in England, requiring a cool, damp, sheltered place. As a result, we grow them in pots with plenty of manure and drainage, placing them in a north-facing aspect and take them into the greenhouse in the winter, where they thrive under a bench – a real ‘gosh’ plant.

A line from a sonnet by Rupert Brook encapsulates the serenity of Cothay, as the days go by like a dream:  “And laughter learned of friends and gentleness, in hearts at peace, under an English heaven”