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China Girl blog 2nd May 2019

As spring slips slowly into early summer, the days lengthen and the garden is full of hope and sunbeams. Memories, like light and shade, flit fleetingly through the garden.

As the tulips begin to fade, Camassias start to flower. These glorious bulbs are native of North America, where they mostly grow in marshy, damp meadows and coniferous forests; here they thrive in our rich clay soil. In past times, the bulb was used as a staple food by the indigenous Americans. Ma says she has never tasted one, but thinks they might be akin to onions, and wonders if you fry them, or perhaps eat them raw. The lovely blue bulb ranges in colour from navy through to pale blue and white. A very good plant before the wild flowers bloom in our meadow.

As usual, health & safety came knocking on the door. This week we saw the obligatory Fire Protection Officer. With a heavy heart, Ma showed her around the house, much to her surprise she was most helpful, suggesting but a few ideas, one of which was to have torches in bedrooms in case the lights are knocked out, and a map showing how to get out of the house. Ma says she is not good at map reading, let alone drawing one!

With the warming of the weather, Jules Dodd-Noble came down from London to collect her annual half-hardy plants for her containers. Although she bought one hundred plants, it seemed to make little more room in our over-stuffed greenhouse.

At long last Ma took the plunge to have the round pond repaired, and only because she was assured that the builder would give her a fair price. Yet another costly expense, as all the pipes to the fountain had rusted away. We hope it will be a success; the pond has leaked for years; we are keeping our fingers crossed that all will go well.

After the spell of dry weather, the rain streamed down and where the bare brown earth was weed-free, it is now a mass of the horrid weed bitter cress. An ephemeral weed, sneaking in everywhere; even walking past them make the seeds pop out and so it starts to grow all over again. Ma says it is supposed to be quite tasty in salads, but she has never tried it. The banks of the ox bow are full of wild garlic. The pretty white star-shaped flowers are edible and look lovely in salads, the leaves and bulbs are also edible, spicing up your spring salads.

At this time of year the days rush by; every day is a circle of learning and each day wrapped in history and new magic, as we are catapulted into the future.