We were off to visit Sarah Raven's garden at Perch Hill. You may know Sarah Raven from her appearances on Gardeners' World or you may have some of her gorgeous books. She is well known for her bold, bright and zingy approach to flower gardening and is the lady behind the "cutting garden", yes, she manages to grow really stunning flowers just to cut them all down. But she does then arrange them all beautifully. She is also an accomplished cook and has thriving veg and fruit gardens too. Ok, got the background? Off we go then...
Perch Hill is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, or at least in the midst of acres of lovely rolling Sussex countryside. We park in a field and set off in the direction of the sweet pea scent filling the air. Yes, it is that strong.
We enter the "cutting garden" which is designed beautifully and amazingly well kept, not a weed in sight. The gravel pathways are lined with arches crafted from willow (grown in the local coppice I believe) and are laden with every variety of stunning sweet pea. The beds are filled with vibrant colour. At this time of year, there were lots of dahlias.
Yes, LOTS of the most divine dahlias indeed.
There's also a very productive area with herbs, onion and shallot plants, beans and rhubarb.
Seriously coveting those rhubarb forcers.
Throughout, there are attractive areas to sit and rest. How anyone can have their garden this immaculate but have time to rest I do not know!
Beautiful gladioli. Sarah doesn't grow any old flowers, she grows ones with the most amazing colours. She also plants them next to other fabulously coloured flowers for maximum ZINGGGG!
Behind the house, is the Oast Garden which is non-productive (ie. not for cutting or eating), purely for enjoying.
More stunning colours, more divine dahlias.
Travelling round to the side, there is the main vegetable garden. Even this looks completely breath-takingly beautiful, very well ordered and with those all important colours again. It's also impressive because the sight is sloping but this doesn't seem to have been a problem.
The backdrop is completely gorgeous.
Ah, well that was all very tiring, time to head indoors. Can't turn down an opportunity for retail therapy...
As well as various home and garden accessories, you can buy many packets of seed. We were particularly taken with the sweet peas and the Munchkin duly chose a couple of packets. Watch this space next year!
Sarah's lovely books were for sale. Sarah was present herself for a Q&A session (so busy I couldn't even get near the door) and to sign books.
Plants were also for sale. A couple of those dahlias I'd spotted in the garden have made it back with us. Am all fired up with the idea of my own cutting garden. That was until I got back and saw the weeds I need to conquer first!
What could be better than a stop for tea? The cakes were seriously scrummy as was the elderflower cordial. They seemed to have set aside a section of a gigantic greenhouse for tea. It was all executed in that same exquisite taste with attention to detail.
And to top off the afternoon nicely, I was pleased to note on the way out that Sarah Raven even has her very own henhouse!