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China Girl blog 2nd October 2019

Can one ever really escape the past? The fading memories have imprinted themselves in the old stone of the house, and the past lives on.

Ma felt sad this week, as each day it rained; who wants to wander around a garden that is sodden and laid flat by the wind and rain? However, the sun came out briefly on Thursday, when a group from Sherborne came to visit the house and garden. They were raising money for children from Russia who had been affected by the disaster after the explosion at Chernobyl. They aim to raise ten thousand pounds each year to give children a holiday.

Poor Avril our house guide lost her much-loved cat. Despite putting notices up, no cat was found. However, there was a happy ending when a faint noise was heard from below the floor. The cat had crept under the floorboards when the builder had been doing work on the room and had nailed poor Pussy under the floorboards, where he remained for ten days. This reminded Mother of last year, when she was cleaning out a stable. Ten days later, she opened the stable door to retrieve a spade, and out walked a very cross chicken!

Yesterday Ma answered the telephone to a man who asked when the house was   open, to which Ma replied that two tours were being conducted on Sunday. He said “I want to wander around on my own.” Ma asked him if he would allow strangers to wander around his house and he replied “It depends on how strange they are”!

Despite the wind and rain, the grasses in the garden are looking good. Stipa gigantea, which is a native of Spain and Portugal and grows on dry rocky slope; it looks ethereal when the sun shines through it, a bonus being that it looks good standing up well throughout the year. There are so many different grasses for all parts of the garden. We like the blue Helictotrichon sempervirens, growing to about eighteen inches, very useful for the front of a border. The Japanese blood grass Imperata cylindrica, which grows in Japan, China and Korea, has beautiful red and green spires. It is one of the most distinct and striking of all small ornamental grasses, for sun or partial shade.

As we start to cut back foliage and put the garden to bed, time slows down as we go about our autumn tasks.