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China Girl blog 23rd November 2016

We felt the awesome force of nature as the storm swept across the south west.  It seemed to us that the rain and wind centered on Cothay, sending glass from the greenhouse crashing all around, soaking all the cherished plants inside.  The River Tone which runs through the garden, broke its banks and joined the lake. An old apple tree with a climbing rose threading through its branches was another casualty of the storm. Mother managed with difficulty to negotiate the lanes which were awash with water and mud, to reach Wellington to get replacement glass for the decimated greenhouse. Dearest said she now knows how Noah felt when he built the ark in biblical times when the world was flooded.

Mother likes to give the garden a Christmas present before she starts her own Christmas shopping.  Through a confusion of lanes, we found our way to Junkers’ amazing tree nursery and chose a beautiful small specimen tree, Cornus controversa variegata, native of Japan and China. The specimen we chose was 10 feet tall; they are slow-growing with lovely teared branches, somewhat like a wedding cake. It cost Mother all of her pocket money!

The sweet pea seeds arrived from English Sweet Peas. I did the hard work of turning the pages of the mouth-watering catalogue to help choose the varieties and colours. Sally planted each seed in root trainers. Each one had to be labelled, or they get mixed up when planted out in April. It is best to sow the seeds before Christmas to encourage good strong root growth.

Dearest Mother went to a Christmas Fair; I did not accompany her as she said it wasn’t quite my scene. She came home laden with delicious booze for gifts.

Mother says and I agree that she is not particular, but does like the best. I think she was referring to her new tree, or perhaps to all the Christmas gifts she bought or perhaps even to me, her best beloved little black and white dog.