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China Girl blog 2nd August 2018

Summer is passing as fleetingly as a dream, time seemingly trapped in the shimmering heat, the colours in the garden like sepia photographs of long ago.

Mother thinks that pal colours sit best under our English skies, nothing should jar and that plantsmanship and structure are one of the most important factors in a garden. Creating anything and especially a garden, is surely one of the greatest pleasures in life. Hard work is painstakingly frustrating, but if you once succeed, what pleasure! Here at Cothay, the task was made much easier by the 1920s layout in the Arts and Craft style, with many garden rooms within the whole garden, all framed by the trees and hedges. Each year we try to add a new dimension, the picture always the same, but imperceptibly changing. Mother’s daughter Charlie also gardens, and as a Dutch friend said, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”

At this time of year, the clumps of Acanthus mollis and pinosa are much in evidence. The handsome shiny dark green leaves, which were copied and much used in early church decoration, add to the August garden. Now in full flower, their tall spikes of white and purple flower tower above the leaves; the flowers when faded, last well into winter. Acanthus, commonly known as Bears breeches, grows all over the Mediterranean area, easily grown from seed. They stand well into winter until the sharp frost in January.

We all loved the amusing comments of visitors last week. A gentleman asked Rose why his marigold tree had died. Somewhat perplexed, Rose admitted she had never come across one, so couldn’t help. A little later he returned, somewhat shame-faced to say his wife had said not a marigold tree, but a magnolia. The problem was soon solved!

On Saturday our prayers were answered; the rain came down at last, soaking the parched earth. Sadly, we were open for the charity National Garden Scheme, but a few people braved the storm. What a relief to feel the cool air again. A visitor said God sends the rain so we can do the housework! And Mohammed said rain is the tears of angels. How lovely are these passing days.