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China Girl blog 5th June 2020

June is a great turning point in the year, as the sun reaches its highest point, pauses there for a moment and then begins to descend back towards winter. We dream of glorious summer days, spinning out our dreams but they never last long enough, time stands still in this glorious month, then the year tumbles backwards as we again dream of future glory.

Mother says she has never seen the rose Coppers Burmese looking so enchanting as it wends its way across the courtyard stretching about thirty meters, growing more like a ramble, though it is said to be a climber. Its single sweetly-scented white flowers fill the air with its gentle scent.

For a month there has been no rain, the earth parched, the flowers drooping in the heat, how we long for the heavens to open, and yet today when it rained nearly all day, bruised petals drooped and dropped; a gardeners life is always wishing, wishing, wishing for the next flower to open, the rain to come or the rain to stop. Mohammed said “Rain was the tears of angels”.

Deep in the heart of the West Country, still in lockdown, nothing seems to change, and the year slips gently on; it is hard to visualise life before it all changed.

A few days ago Mother passed an acquaintance in Wellington and asked how she was, to which the reply came “I’m fine, just pickled in alcohol”!!! It reminded her of the poem by Charles Baudelaire “Get Drunk – one should always be drunk, and not always just with alcohol, but by life and all that it holds. ”  It is a good motto for these times.!

We have been busy planting out our annuals, mostly the lovely Cosmos and Cleome’s, the spider flowers or bee plants. We must keep deadheading each day so they will all hopefully flower until the frosts return.

Poor mother has been unwell with pleurisy symptoms. At least the doctors have confirmed it’s not the dreaded COVID19; she says it’s still painful and so Chris has been her usual marvellous self and has been working double-time to cover for Mother and keep the ship afloat, whilst Saskia in her spare moments weeds and Mathew mows, strims, and does a dozen other tasks.

Ma feels so many plants are a month early and wonders what we will do for colour in late summer; Oh! a gardener’s life is full of woe.!

Hidden away at Cothay, Mother feels at times a brief window into the past opens up a glimpse of forgotten times, as she wonders about the changing future.

A glimmer of hope is around the corner, and we hope to re-open the gardens from 17th June – Mother is hopeful we will be adapt our system to accept pre-payments only,  so we won’t have to take money on the gate… watch this space and the website for further details.