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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
That view from the kitchen to the oast~house courtyard, I can't get over how I never tire of this wonderful space.
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!)
I thought I would show you inside the greenhouse, not a brilliant photo but you get the idea.
And here is the Oast courtyard.
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.