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China Girl blog 25th July 2019

We mourn the passing of high summer, when time seems to stand still. For three weeks the garden is full of wonder. But still the luminous quality of July, with its fading beauty, has a certain magic reminding us of times past.

The longed-for rain which fell on Friday is but a dream, as we dead-head and go back to the every day tasks of watering our newly-planted annuals which will hopefully give colour well into August and beyond.

The August edition of The English Gardens is out, with seven pages on Cothay; we hope it will entice people to visit the garden. There was a beautiful picture in it of the terrace and house, showing the pots and clematis. The title “Where time stands still” the old house, looking as it grows out of the garden. The picture must have been taken some years ago, as the box balls are still in evidence, which have now been replaced with standard Ilex crenata, the Japanese holly. So much changes each year, it is hard to remember in which year we moved the box, which had suffered from Box Blight. Ma was sad as she had grown them from cuttings about forty years ago.

Happily, all went well on Saturday when the Belgian group of hardy plants visited the garden; they were a knowledgeable and interesting group of fifty enthusiastic gardeners.

Ma loves thistles; few people seem to like them except for the esoteric. One of her favourites is the pale mauve Berkheya pupurea, from high up in the Drakensburg mountains and in the north east Cape Province in South Africa; an unusual thistle, seeding freely in full sun.

The statuesque Acanthus mollis, native of South Western Europe, growing in rocky woods; the flowers are two metres tall, white suffused with purple. It is indeed a striking plant, looking best associated with old stone, much used as decoration carved in early churches.

The garden is full of hope. If only the good Lord had made the summer days a little longer.

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