Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sarah's garden

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'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 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!
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... 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-

Monday, 21 May 2012

Boodle, buttercups and bench...

Early summer is signalled by the plummy tones of Blowers on TMS floating out of the kitchen radio and curling through the open windows into the garden where his warm velvet voice is joined by the jubilant chirrups of courting birds. This is followed on by the Chelsea Flower Show, a week of unrivaled floral extravagance...yep, we're off...careering towards the Diamond Jubilee, Wimbledon and a small sporting event they call the Olympics  taking in Village Fetes, Regattas and garden open days along the way.
Here Down The Lane we are taking a gentle run up to all this bruhaha...
this is The Lane by the way, I realised I have not posted a picture and we have been here almost a year now! The house is at the top of the hill through the green tunnel.
I duly put cushions outside at the weekend and momentarily thought I might read the papers there...of course it was far too chilly and there was an enormous dandelion clump in amongst the rogue couch grass currently invading the hydrangea stared me down, I'm afraid and weeding got the better of me.
Later, in need of unfurling, having crouched low over the weeds all morning, Boodle and I took a stroll. Across the Lane and into Dangerfield ( yes, THAT field, as you know it slopes away dramatically). Here we took a few moments to admire the buttercups and bright green baby oak leaves. The advantage of being on a hill is of course the view but the day was grey and the whole field was lit by bright yellow buttercups, so no need to look any further afield ...studs of yellow buds floating above the grass...
can you spot the chimney stack on the brow of the hill...the house martins have been eyeing it up this week
The whole field all studded in yellow splots like paint flicked onto a green canvas

Oh and I was pleased to note that the Boodle does indeed like butter!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Earth laughs in flowers...

A wonderful new discovery this week, 
As you know it was Magpie's birthday and so I wend my way from Sussex along the coast to Devon to sing to the Magpie...we went to Totnes and here I popped into Emma's gorgeous shop.
Look at this stunning urn brimming with dill and kind of "arrangement".
 There were buckets of all my favourites...peonies, achillea, anttirhinum, roses and what an eye for colour...sorry for the camera shake but the colours are worth seeing in spite of the blur...

 and then on to lunch and singing
 here is my smiley by Emma!
 Back home in Sussex the peonies are open and brilliant, snap-dragons are coral and pink and reminding me of Granny's garden...yes the earth laughs in flowers and I smile along with them as they catch my eye.
Outside it is warmer, the earth is finally beginning to warm up...we smelt it this morning when I opened the back door to let Boodle out at sparrows...we have house-martins nesting in the barn and the swallows are finally returning...lilacs are blooming and the cow~parsley is frothing along the banks of the lane at last...perhaps she is not in full throw your head back laughter but gently giggling is Mother Earth...

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Saluting Magpie

"Good Morning Mrs Magpie! How's your Gentleman husband today?" 
Ok, so I took a liberty with the gender of the saying but today I am saluting Magpies...well one in particular
Happy Birthday Mum 
" Ten for a bird you cannot miss!"

Have a lovely day all!