Mrs Doncaster’s lovely garden; The “Voice of Michael Vane”; abundant Painted Ladies; Jock is twenty-one; a sleepy Jackdaw; exams and their results; gambolling Stoats; plenty of orchids; a drinking woodpecker; a moth in the ear, and Wimbledon again.
On May 20th 1952, Gran:
…took a friend from the Natural History Society for a walk round about this district. We went through the woodland past the lake, which is surrounded by Rhododendron bushes which today were in full bloom, reflected in the water of the still lake, the rosy-mauve in various shades making a picture of unsurpassed beauty. Unfortunately, the lake itself is overgrown with pondweed over a large extent and this detracts from its beauty because it spoils the clarity of the water.
I remember being disappointed when those lakeside rhododendrons (which Dad and his friends used to climb through from one end to the other without touching the ground) were grubbed out, apparently because there was a fear that unsavoury men may be tempted to lurk within.
We then went round Mrs Doncaster’s lovely garden, followed closely by the Robin and Chaffinches which she is in the habit of feeding. She is away at present, but I knew I could safely take my friend round this dream garden. One always finds such unexpected treasures here, as, on turning into a shady corner, the indescribable Himalayan Blue Poppies Mecanopsis baileyi or the Iris bed in which all the most unusual colours have been chosen. I have been round this garden at all seasons and it is impossible to say when it is most beautiful. We came home along Oakwood Road, stopping to see Pyrola media which is now in bloom and is spreading again delightfully.
I was intrigued to hear from my friend that the country name in Suffolk of Viola tricolor (Heartsease), of which Mrs Doncaster has a large bed, is “Garden-gate”, a pretty, descriptive name since this small favourite is so often found round field and garden gateways.
On June 2nd, Gran works, “in spite of it being Whit Monday, since I am going to Kingston tomorrow and I did not want to leave my employer a full week without my services”. Later, she makes her way to the downs to collect wildflowers to take to Adrian’s “Garden of Sleep” in Kingston, finding Fragrant and Bee Orchids to include in the posy. That evening:
I listened to an unusual but beautiful little play on the wireless, called “The Voice of Michael Vane”, and although I knew it was only a play, it found an echo in my heart and I am not at all sure that such things do not really happen, though in our blindness most of us do not comprehend them. Anyway, something very similar has occurred in my own experience though I do not hear the voice distinctly.