I went for total indulgence in the hot spell last week. I reasoned that it was too hot for serious gardening, so I may as well visit other gardens and bask in the tulip displays. So on Friday it was Great Dixter and on Saturday I took the family to Sarah Raven’s Open Garden at Perch Hill.
Sarah Raven was the garden writer who got me hooked on tulips and dahlias, so I always visit her garden with a sense of gratitude. I have subsequently spent a small fortune on her bulbs and tubers over the years.
In the last couple of years, Sarah Raven’s catalogue has taken on softer tones, with more white, cream, pink and apricot than the bold and bright schemes she is known for.
I am taken with ‘Violet Beauty’:
Tulipa ‘Abu Hassan’ was prominent in the farmhouse garden, which also shows off the wonderful views onto the surrounding landscape:
We wound our way around the trial beds, up to the vegetable beds, and onto the terrace.
‘Apricot Parrot’ blew me away:
Time and time again we stopped to admire the pots. Here is a wonderful display of ‘Slawa’ and ‘Brownie’:
I love that splodge at the centre of ‘Slawa’, and there is a corresponding dark feather on the outside of the petals. ‘Slawa’ and ‘Apricot Parrot’ are top of my list for next year.
We stopped for cappucinno cake (if you want children to enjoy garden visits there must be cake). And then we made our way to the Oast Garden. This really did it for all of us.
Here was that Dixterish profusion, with Honesty, Euphorbia and Smyrnium, and gazillions of alliums poking through.
But pots. Oh the pots! I adore bright pink and orange together, so this combination of ‘Louvre Orange’ and ‘Atilla Grafitti’ was my idea of a party.
There were a pair of pots at each entrance to the garden, and quite a few along the path. I momentarily worried about the cost of ramming all of these pots full of bulbs, but then I remembered who the owner is.
The Anemone coronaria (Da Caen Group, I think) were pretty stunning too:
And in case you’re bored of round pots, let’s have an oval tub:
We spent more time in the Oast Garden and Dutch Courtyard than any other part of the garden. This is what Sarah Raven does best. She has a knack of choosing three or four varieties that just look wonderful together. A dark base tone, a bright, and a couple of harmonising tones. Throw in contrasting forms and plan for longevity. Easy?
So whilst this garden visit could not possibly match the ecstasy at Dixter, it was very beautiful. I have come away with the desire to create more mixed pots for next year. I have a list as long as my arm of possible varieties to try.
Don’t miss a post! Click on the ‘Follow’ button at the bottom on this post to receive an email notification each time I post. My aim is to lift your day with a little pop of wonder or sensory delight from the garden.