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China Girl blog 22nd March 2017

Other than the seasons, little changes here. Threads of light herald the first days of a cold, wet spring. Drawing joy out of bad weather is like the eternal search for inspiration and perfection.

A garden is an illusion, a search for beauty and peace, which seems constantly to elude us, a struggle to tame nature. When Dearest came to Cothay two decades ago, she climbed the spiral stairs in the Gatehouse and looked out at the greens and browns of Somerset, changed little in 500 years.  The garden, laid out nearly a hundred years ago, had fallen into a dream; little of interest was left from Colonel Cooper’s original garden, save the strong structure. Dearest Mother and her husband gutted the garden, leaving only the lovely bones laid out by Reginald Cooper, a friend of all the gardening grandees of the 1920s.  Mother read that when they were in the embassy in Istanbul, they dreamed of England; old houses, lit by candlelight and hung with old tapestries and the making of gardens.  So Cothay was born, and although little has changed of the Arts & Crafts design, much has changed within the original structure of rooms, created by yew hedges off a 200-yard yew walk.

Structure, spatial awareness and repeat planting in the landscape you are given makes within a strong frame work a garden, pleasing to the eye. The making of a garden is like painting a picture.