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China Girl blog 3rd July 2020

The longest day of the year has passed. Little by little, the lovely June and July days have imperceptibly shortened, but still the garden look amazing, shimmering in the golden heat, bathed in sunshine. The garden is a fragile environment, full of powerful magic, heart-breakingly beautiful, but with a strong will of its own.

We are now down to two in the house. Sadly Saskia, who was such a great help cooking and weeding, has after three month, gone back to London.

Chris gave all the sixteen standard Eleagnus their summer clipping. Despite having a marvellous tool on a long pole, it is heavy work. Mother came up behind her, raking up the chippings. It took two days of aching arms and sore backs.

Marcus made a good job of clearing the Oxbow of weeds; he spent a day in the muddy water, luckily it was a boiling hot day. David and Mathew worked cutting grass in the meadow.

Visitors to the garden have been slow, many coming as they know that Mother is retiring and want to see the garden before it closes at the end of the season. It is so nice to see so many familiar faces.

Peter managed to trap a squirrel in his attic; after four days it eventually entered the trap, which was bated with peanut butter.

Beloved Cothay was advertised in Country Life this week; Mother is so sad, but feels she must make a move after three decades and before she reaches a hundred years of age.

Flowering in great profusion all around the garden are the many-coloured Alstromerias, originally from Peru. Such good value, as they flower for weeks. Also looking charming are the Viticella clematis, we love their delicate beauty, so charming compared to the large-flowered early clematis, which look like over-blown barmaids!

How we all love the garden, looking like the brush strokes of an old master painter. The texture of history mingles with the old house and garden; such happiness. The essence of the lovely old place is timeless and ethereal and it breaks all our hearts to know that we are parting from this ancient jewel.