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China Girl blog 27th June 2018

As Midsummer Day passes, the days shorten imperceptibly, and the mood in the garden changes. The lovely roses are still flowering, but not with their early vigour.

This week has been quite busy with three coaches; one group from Argentina of sixteen lovely ladies brought by their leader Angela Billoch, who had visited with a group last year.

Mr Sawyer’s group of fifty arrived trembling, it was their first experience of Somerset’s narrow lanes; after tea and cake, they perked up and enjoyed the garden. Mr Sawyer said it was like herding cats getting them all on the coach!

Arne Maynard, the well-known garden designer, brought twenty five delightful Americans to visit. We gave them a special lunch of chicken in a delicious sauce with rice and salad, followed by strawberries and cream served with an Australian white wine, and of course coffee and chocolates to finish. One man asked Ma for the recipe, which pleased her, and nearly all of them had second helpings, including Arne. Even better that one of the group bought a string of pearls from our new shop, and Arne bought plants for his lovely garden in Wales. They left after lunch to visit Southmead Farm near Honiton, which had just featured in this month’s Gardens Illustrated; this garden was designed by Arne.

Ma said she had never known such a hot summer since the one in 1975; we have had no rain for a month, the garden is gasping with thirst.

Looking around the garden, it is hard to say which plants are the most beautiful. The rose Raubritter, bred in Germany in 1967 by Kordes,  which Peter Beales says is a trailing shrub of great charm; with trusses of clear pink silvery flowers, it is looking lovely. The charming single pink rose Dainty Bess, named it is said, by Ellen Wilmott for her beloved sister Elizabeth, a shy little rose of great charm.

The red Somerset earth is baked hard, the forces of nature are firmly in control. The wonders of nature in summer, the glory of the garden.