In the pearly light of April, spring comes in waves; beautiful and warm one day, cold and wet the next. You can almost hear the sap rising as the oak and the ash green up.
We have all been up in the woods, coppicing hazel to make supports for the plants in the borders; ideally the hazel should be the second year’s growth so that they bend easily. We weave them around the plants, rather like making baskets. When the job is done, the border looks as if it is made of birds’ nests, but soon the plants cover the structures and in a few weeks they can barely be seen, protecting the plants from being blown over by summer gales. A hedge cuts a sixty-mile an hour wind down to twelve miles per hour by filtering it; even so, plants need staking to protect them from the buffeting of gales. Our lovely old yew hedges not only make for structure, but keep the worst weather from playing havoc. It is better to look ahead than to look back and regret.
Yesterday a group of thirty French people came to visit the house and garden. They almost didn’t arrive, as the coach they were travelling in was too long to turn into our narrow lane. Luckily, Mother’s number one son managed to help the poor driver get round the bend. Mother had ordered nine French sticks for their Ploughmans Lunch. To her horror, when she opened the door, there were only three loaves. Dearest’s adopted labrador had eaten most of them! Dearest says I am greedy, but I would never dream of eating so many!
Our lovely house guide Avril who is quite short in stature, says that when I stand on her feet and try to kiss her, I am life-enhancing! Mother goes even further, and says “what would life be like without her beloved China Girl?”