Life, Mother says, is a lottery. Sometimes you win, but mostly I get the feeling you’re not quite so lucky.
Mother feels that October sometimes casts a shadow of sorrow throughout the garden, the golden days have passed. The trees are buffeted about by the wind and the plants are put to bed cut to the ground. At Cothay we blitz the borders, for if we leave standing plants over winter we would be unable to catch up on all the work after Christmas. Mother does not like the look of decaying vegetation, which so seldom looks attractive unless clothed in a hoar frost, which we seldom get in Somerset.
The leaves of the tree Cercis siliquastrum, a genus of seven species, siliquastrum being the best; known as the Judas Tree, for under this tree it is said Judas betrayed Christ. It is often confused with Cercidiphylum japonicum, the leaves of which when falling, fill the air with the scent of burnt sugar.
Walking through the garden, Ma and I noticed the Colquhounica coccinea, a native of the Himalayas through India to Yunnan, has at last come into flower, its red and orange flowers light up the dying garden.
We all love the might vine Vitis coignetiae, with its huge leaves, 8-30cm across, which in the autumn turn purple and red – the finest foliage climber which has reached 25 metres up the tower of the Gate House; a native of Japan, it is hardy to -25oC.
Early this morning there was an apocalyptic sight in the sky. The postman, Mother and I watched the sun rise over the misty land. At first we thought it was the moon gone mad and that it was really made of bread and cheese. The colour, a vivid bright orange, which you could hardly bear to look at. We learned later that the cause was sand blown in by the Liberian forest fires from the Sahara, aided by the winds from Hurricane Ophelia. Life is full of amazement, nature never ceases to amaze and surprise. Days like these are full wonder.
The distant mists of the past mingle with the migrating ghosts and are carried like a memory on the October breeze. How lucky are we that live out our lives here at ancient Cothay.