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China Girl blog 22nd August 2019

All things arise and exist and expire, that is the rhythm of life, just as it is in the garden. Now that August is nearing its end, the falling evenings march ever onwards, reminding us of early autumn. Each day is spent in an effort to prolong the late summer days. There is ordered chaos, the summer shagginess seems to be untameable.

Mother had two American friends to stay from Boston. Fred is a brain surgeon and Ma said he is the brightest person she has ever met. Carol is also a medic and a very keen gardener; she said she likes plants that “dance in the sky.” What a lovely description.

Charlie and James have gone to Turkey for a short holiday, leaving us to look after Blossom, a dachshund. Ma had a fright when she lost her one evening; after an hour, she was found in the dustbin shed.

On Friday, we had a jolly group from the Taunton U3A. They spent some time having a house tour; however, the afternoon was aborted in the garden as it rained all day, drenching everything.

Shirley has done Ma’s family tree and lots of unknown relations with odd Victorian names have appeared.

Despite the slow passing of summer, there are still many jewels in flower. The summer-flowering bulb, the white Galtonia candicans, planted on the terrace comes from South Africa. Easy to grow from seed, best in deep, moist, sandy soil in full sun.

The enchanting Gaura,with flowers like dancing butterflies likes it hot and dry, flowering for long periods; it comes from Louisiana and Texas, where it grows in prairies and pinelands.

At this time of year, the shrub Cotinus cogygiana, the smoke bush lights up the August days. A wildly spreading shrub from Europe to the Himalayas. A deep reddish-purple, brilliant in autumn.

As summer closes, we are busy collecting seeds from around the garden. Mother says gardening is a seed – once sown, never dies.