28th May, 2018, second May bank holiday weekend

We are having thunderstorms and showers at the moment. This last week we had two groups of Americans, on Monday and Saturday, both delightful and really interested. The second group from California, nicknamed James Mr. Charming, as he arrived from London about an hour into their rather wet visit. Led by Laurie Calloway, this was her fifth time, and a lot of fun was had by all. Everything is looking delightfully green, and the dahlias in the par terre have only just started to be planted out. James and I have had a very relaxing time, and I have persuaded him into doing some wiring for a new clematis. It was amazing how long it took him.

On Sunday we had 87 year old Sybylle Kreutzberger to lunch, who was one of the two gardeners for Vita Sackville West at Sissinghurst. We walked slowly round the garden after lunch, and she pointed out several things that needed attending to. She just knows so much, I am always in awe. I think that is why I used to be frightened of her to start with, but I need not have been, as she always leaves me saying ‘don’t forget it is your garden Gina’ She did not like my new intersectional peonies at all. I had a feeling that she would not as I think they were all too blowsy and in your face for her. She spotted a seedhead of a pulsatilla that she was sure was white, I think it was, but I dont always notice everything enough, as things are opening out and going over at the rate of knots. I am always telling Harriet to use her eyes in the garden. Incidentally her garden is looking good at the moment, though her Cotinus Flame has turned its toes up after I had told her to prune it, so I feel slightly responsible. Syblle said that a few of my plants needed Epsom Salts, because of the colour of the leaf.

I was really pleased as Mark Griffiths gave us a paragraph in Country Life saying that our Malus Transitoria avenue in the paddock was his favourite. I must try and get Mark and Yoko to stay a night or two here, he is my best choice to walk round the garden with.

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