For quite a long time I have admired Sarah Raven and wanted to visit Perch Hill Farm in East Sussex where she has her garden and business. When I read on her website, that she was having an open day I decided, along with my parents, to make the long journey from Dorset to visit (my Dad very kindly volunteered to drive) Perch Hill.
This time of year is the best time for my favourite flower the Dahlia and I wasn't disappointed with the sight which met us when we arrived. Sarah's husband Adam Nicolson was on hand to take the entrance money and the first garden we entered was the Cutting Garden which was very inspirational.
The Cutting Garden is made up of large beds full of a variety of flowers including lots of different types of Dahlias, Cosmos, Gladioli, and an interesting climbing courgette/squash which unfortunately I can't remember the name of.
This zingy Gladioli really stands out against the pinks and purples
Between the beds the paths were laid with gravel which made them easy to walk on. It was a very practical area to grow your cut flowers but also a beautiful place to spend time in either working of just sitting and enjoying.
Seating area under a home made arch
Arch with climbing courgette
The day was very relaxed wandering amongst the flowers and vegetables and drinking tea and eating cakes served by her lovely daughters in the glasshouse adjoining the shop.
In the late afternoon, Sarah gave a talk about her work at Perch Hill and answered questions from the audience. An interesting discussion was autumn sowing as opposed to spring sowing and you can find details about this on here website http://www.sarahraven.com/.
The talk was held in a small room with the most gorgeous dappled light and a large open fireplace The room was full of bits and bobs which Sarah uses in her workshops.
Side view of the shop and greenhouse where refreshments were served
Inside the greenhouse
This south facing slope is where Sarah grows her veg and is in use 12 months of the year.
Some of my favourite Dahlias
Perch Hill, with its oasthouse, and lovely brick and personal touches, is a very homely and inviting place. Sarah used to live there before moving to nearby Sissinghurst Castle, her husbands family home, before it was given to the National Trust, and hopes to return to Perch Hill Farm sometime in the future. I hope she gets her wish as Perch Hill Farm and the surrounding countryside is a lovely place to visit and I suspect a really enjoyable place to live.
Visit Sarah's website at http://www.sarahraven.com/ where you can find lots of information about growing and cutting, recipes and purchase lovely items for the home.