Saturday, 17 April 2010

Cherry Blossom

Such a beautiful week here
A week full of blossom buds bursting open
sweet fragrance on the breeze
Reminding me of a favourite film........................

Were you a fan too? I devoured the book when it came out, and the film was so sumptuous.
The cherry blossom or Sakura is so significant in Japanese culture, how wonderful to have cherry blossom festivals to celebrate as they have been for centuries.
Here Down the lane I thought I would enjoy my very own cherry blossom festival, hope you can join me....

Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride

Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,

And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

By A.E Houseman

Have you ever seen a cherry blossom kit kat?
How I love the Japanese! First Hello Kitty and now this


There are some gorgeous books celebrating cherry blossom, you can find this here

When you throw in lanterns with blossom I am in a state of utter joy!
I will leave you this wonderful scene

Have a brilliant weekend and thank you so much for joining me
Love Sarah

Sunday, 11 April 2010

All things bright and beautiful

Each little flower that opens
Each little bird that sings
...glowing colours........

Aahhhh, I just love to sing that happy hymn and this week I have been humming it often.

The sun has been shining down on this corner of Blighty all week long. The birds have been chirruping their sweet spring soundtrack and the soil is warm and crumbly. We have been making the most of this and have been outside gardening every evening. Mr.Lane arriving home from work and donning his gardening gear, we have hoed and sowed long into the twilight.

I have been filling the house with spring flowers, small posies really as so many spring flowers are small, dainty and delicate. This got me thinking about a very favourite garden of mine and so I thought I would show you all.

Photograph by Jonathan Buckley, taken from "Grow your own cut flowers," by Sarah Raven.

This divine Spring Vase is by Sarah Raven. I have long admired Sarah, and her wonderful eye for colour. I particularly love her approach to growing cut flowers along with fruit and vegetables and many of the ideas in her garden in East Sussex have in some small way been implemented here Down the Lane.

I first visited Perch Hill, Sarah's garden in Spring 2006 and I have been returning ever since. When I was sifting through my photos to show you I realised just how much the garden has developed over that time.

On entering the garden for the very first time I suddenly grasped the scale on which Sarah grows flowers for cutting, it was a revelation to me! I loved the simple support structures bent from willow and hazel and the vertical definition created by simple wigwams even though in spring they were not yet smothered in sweet peas and climbing beans.The whole garden had a wonderful sense of exuberance about it.

I am so glad I took this photo of a border being worked on, it is outside the kitchen and has changed immensley since this first visit.

Sarah has a magnificent green house, where tea and coffee is served in a gorgeous jumble of Bridgewater mugs. Gardening, flower arranging and cookery courses are also held here.
The bank which leads up to the grennhouse is planted in a glorious jumble of tulips, wallflowers and leafy vegetables and salad leaves.

Across from the back door of the house is my favourite part of the garden. A walled area enclosing a lovely sheltered courtyard. Sarah has an office here inside a gorgeous Oast and attached building, complete with first floor balcony, from here the views are simply breathtaking. We stayed for lunch that day and all the way home I warbled and twittered with ideas and joy. (The poached rhubarb in orange with ginger ice~cream was a large factor in this!)

Here we are back in 2007, spring was earlier and more tulips were in flower.

The bank leading up to the greenhouse was much further on too.

Doesn't it look wonderful? with Sarah's signature acid green euphorbias and the wonderful fiery reds and oranges of tulips and wallflowers.

I love the purple sweet rocket, I have lots here and cut it for the house regularly.

Here we are back at the Oast House, love all those long tom pots planted with tulips, another idea that has been transplanted back here.

When we first visited in 2006 I hadn't appreciated this little low outbuilding. It has a table and a pizza oven and the family use it for alfresco eating. It has doors on either side so when you open them up you find yourself gazing through the courtyard and then your eye travels on across the beautiful Sussex countryside rolled out like a carpet beyond.

Spring 2008 ~ Here is the bank leading to the greenhouse once again. Noticably busier this year.

And a peep into the Oast house courtyard, can't believe how much more mature it all looks.

A lovely grouping of pots outside the front door.

And the cutting garden smelling delicious, those highly scented narcissi make your heart sing.

More of those lovely natural garden structures.

I just love this idea of traing a dwarf apple along a shin height wire to create a low fence smothered in apple blossom ~ so brilliant.

This slightly more formal area is outside the front of the house. Gorgeous rounded domes of box and brick pathways giving the geometry.

Now those of you who have been reading this blog for a while will be familiar with my longing for a gypsy caravan. Lucky Sarah has her very own sheperd's hut painted in a gorgeous green. I am not bitter and twisted though! It looks so perfect here. It moves around from year to year and I love to spot it's current home.

That view from the kitchen to the oast~house courtyard, I can't get over how I never tire of this wonderful space.

And the outbuilding? Yes, all looking lovely but sadly the doors looking across the valley are shut this year.

Now we have reached 2009! ( sorry, thanks for staying with this, I guess if you have managed to you are as smitten as I am!)
Different colours, new tulip varieties abound and wow, the place is packed!

I thought I would show you inside the greenhouse, not a brilliant photo but you get the idea.

This tulip was a show stopper! Isn't it stunning?

Oh and that apple blossom hedge is really bushing up nicely.

Box balls growing slowly, slowly.

And here is the Oast courtyard.

Inside the outbuilding a treat

Atop the scrubbed zinc topped table a wonderful jug of Narcissi!

Looking forward to this year's visit. You can find out more about Perch Hill and Sarah's courses here.
I was also captivated by Alys Fowler's new programme for the BBC called the edible Garden this week, did you see it?
I thought the illustration and animation were so magical, like reading a book. I also love Alys's style ~ gorgeous retro floral dresses for summer and tweed jacket and cords for winter, do have a look on i-player if you can.
Happy GARDENING everyone xXx

Monday, 5 April 2010

High Days and Holidays!

Or rather "Hi" days and Holidays!
I do relish Bank Holidays don't you?
I love to devote them to spending time with family and friends, cooking special celebratory meals and spoiling the chicklets with chocolates and other pretties.
Here for your delectation and delight are some snippets from our Eastery celebrations with some of our favourite people, all gift wrapped in Eastery Flora Prints x
Magpie simply had to have a Liberty print birdy

Whilst elsewhere "Lola," (Goddess of cake) was preparing this magnificent creation with her boys who decorated it beautifully.

I am pleased to report she also likes to create Easter tableau, so good to know I am not alone!

And then just to demonstrate her true Goddess status she calmly served us cake whilst agreeing to unexpected visitors that very evening which would involve much scrabbling of provisions and extra beds to be made up.
You're my hero Lola!

Meanwhile in the world of beloved God~Daughter a splendid Birthday was had in which new outfits were purchased and teddy bears were built!

And then if that wasn't enough all this was rounded off by a visit from the Easter Bunny.
Let the feasting begin!

Thank heavens there were a few of us adults standing by to supervise the chocolate munching. What's that?
No silly! that's not chocolate above my mouth it's a beauty spot!

My lovely Ludo and the youngest of her chicklets

Back down the Lane things were taking an artistic turn.
Every now and then I am reminded how remarkable Mr.Lane is and this is one of those occasions.
Arriving home from a morning Easter Egg delivery I was presented with this egg~box

Hmm, not very remarkable at all, in fact are you expecting me to down tools and rustle you up breakfast?
Hmm, feeling less than impressed.
And then I opened the box

You see Mr.Lane is in fact an artistic genius and in all the every day comings and goings I do tend to forget this from time to time.

I am especially fond of the Easter Cat and his friend the prehistoric forerunner of the chicken.
Thank you Mr.Lane, you're the best.

At last the garden is unfurling, the helebores are still flowering and their are more flowers than ever, I love them.

And as for my earlier prediction of welly boots being the must have for this Easter, I really can't complain when the view from the front door involves this

No need to search for the "Crock of Gold" as we have it right here at home,