It would be fair to say that Sarah Raven's Cutting Garden in East Sussex played its part in our moving from Kent. You might say the seed was planted back in 2006 on my first visit here. Before Perch Hill I had always thought a garden open to the public would be primped and clipped and immaculate and so far beyond my own capability, something to aspire to.
Perch Hill knocked my wellies off...it's real you see. The scale is perfect too, the cutting garden, the oast garden, the productive beds all on a slope...I'm not suggesting we all have a plot this size but it offers solutions to tricky problems and it is shaggy and exuberant in style along with being in a stunning position high up and overlooking the glorious countryside that rolls away into the distance.
This week I hopped across there from our hilltop to hers...on a morning so bright and warm the may caught in my throat as I took my first breath of morning air. Bees buzzing and birds twittering as I arrive...early. I want to savour this garden, drink it in before it becomes too busy and these days it does. When I first came to Perch Hill it was possible to time your stroll through the garden and not see another soul. These days it's trickier but if you are up with the larks....
Pausing for a cup of tea and a slice of cake in the greenhouse I began to feel the heat throbbing in my ears.
Sarah has a wonderful painters eye for colour combinations and artfully grouping objects together...as a "noticer" this appeals to me, I like to soak up the details. I love to see surprising colours paired successfully as well as more harmonious couplings, it is a very great joy of mine to simply observe and absorb.
And so farewell Perch Hill, until next time. Yes, I did see Sarah, she is always there and I quietly congratulated her on how wonderful the garden looks, I don't think she heard me but she smiled politely anyway. It must be a terrific effort to prepare for a garden open day and I suspect she and the team are pretty exhausted by the time the day arrives!
CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU ALL!
Opening the back door here at The Lane I am hit by a wall of warm spicy wallflower fragrance and the years fall away...decade by decade, peeling back the layers. When I was very small Magpie spent a whole afternoon planting a long border along the fence of our "new" house. I remember grubbing around nearby, filling tea-cups with mud and "watering them in" with my prized orange watering can.
Months later, and long after I had forgotten the digging day I remember being astonished by what seemed to me the overnight appearance of tall colourful flowers all along the wooden slats of the close board fence. And the amazing scent! Almost heady enough for me to swoon and being so little and so much closer in height I think it was more powerful.
Opening the back door here, I close my eyes and back I go...
...here I am with my favourite orange watering can!
Look at my Dad ~ so dapper and Magpie quite heavily pregnant with little brother Faraway...
My friend Holiday came for tea, she went to Perch Hill in the middle of the day...we sat under the big birch tree and debriefed.
"Please sarah, can I have some more?" 'mais oui!"
Last years visit is here
Previous visits here
Thanks go to my gorgeous girl, Nina , over at Tabiboo who alerted me that Sarah Raven tweeted about this very post today!
Wowzers I am thrilled and delighted and blushing, thank you Sarah -x-