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China Girl blog 5th September 2019

September, the word dating back to Roman times, the ninth month of the year. The month has a serenity about it before the frosts of autumn set in. Whispering softly across the years, it reminds Mother that Cothay, built at the end of the Wars of the Roses, is a remembering time. A time when in the fifteenth century, Richard Bluett built the house and commissioned the wall painting that decorated his new house. Although many medieval wall paintings are still found in churches and cathedrals, very few now remain in secular buildings. Of these, none rival those that are preserved at Cothay for their extent and diversity, reflecting the erudite taste of Richard Bluett. The paintings provide unique insight into the preoccupations and social aspirations of the rural gentry in medieval England; they are exceptional survivals of national importance.

At long last, the meadows have been cut; sadly, these days no one wants our small quantity of hay. As a result, the only way to get rid of it is to burn it; what an awful waste. It took about a week to cut, row it up, and burn. The fire is still smouldering, as the hay had to be put on top of the bull rushes which were pulled from the lake. As we were building the bonfire the rain came, which made the task even harder. We all smelt of smoke; at the end of the day, clouds of smoke driven by the wind billowed into the air, looking as if they were joining the clouds.

The most amazing plant in the garden is the late-flowering Eryngium decaisneanum from South America, which grows to fifteen feet, growing in marches and wet places; however, it seems quite happy here growing in a flower bed. Like very tall men, it can be quite intimidating!

Another Eryngium giganteum, known as Miss Willmott’s ghost has long been cultivated, introduced from Turkey in 1820. Named after Ellen Willmott of Warley Place in Essex, a grand Lady gardener who is said to have dropped seeds of the plant in suitable places when visiting friends!

As the September days shorten, the owls hoot at dusk in the warm night air, and you feel all is well in our land.