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China Girl blog 30th May 2019

Mother remarked that she often thought that the maturing of a garden was like the maturing of the mind – a lifetime of waiting patiently in the coming years.

On Wednesday we had a group of thirty six to visit the house and gardens. They arrived at eleven o’clock for coffee and biscuits, after which they had a tour of the house followed by a ploughmans lunch, and then a visit to the gardens; they ended the day with tea and cakes. Needless to say, they were exhausted by the time they departed.

Mother and I went to Marlborough for Ma’s number two son’s birthday supper with the family. Luckily Charlie and James scooped us up on their way from Cornwall. Ma gave Mathew as a birthday present an ancestry DNA kit. You have to put some of your saliva into a bottle, then post it to the company for analysis. When the results come back in about a month, you find out your origins and to whom you are related.

We took plants to Jamie and Jo for their new gravel garden. After eighteen years, they have at long last decided to make a garden. A house without a garden is like a man with no clothes on!

The roses are just beginning to show their full beauty. Growing against the west wing of the house is Coopers Burmese, collected in Burma by Ronald Cooper in the 1920s. According to the rose authority Charles Quest Ritson, it is the most common cultivar in european gardens. Peter Beale states it grows to six metres. Here at Cothay, it stretches for thirty metres, covering the entire west wing; Ma controls its height by pruning it three times a year. It is without doubt, the most amazing sight. The single white flowers, nearly three inches across, show well against its glossy everygreen foliage. Ma says she does not know of such a large form anywhere else. The other single rose, spectacular at this time of year growing as a climber, is Rosa mutabilis, which now reaches over twenty feet; usually grown as a shrub, this ancient Chinese rose grows on a south-facing wall. It took some years to reach this height, always causing gasps of amazement at its beauty.

The thread of light which runs through the garden is like a golden chain, linking the past and future together.

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