Pure Envy

Sarah Raven is the reason I am so obsessed by flowers.  Anyone who has her catalogue plop through their door will know why.

On the ‘Grow your own cut flowers’ Facebook page last week, the lovely LP posted a picture of the newest catalogue with the comment “Well this is dangerous”.

We all knew exactly what she meant.  There was a flurry of comments where people confessed their strategies for managing the Sarah Raven itch.  Some try to fling it straight in the recycling; some ask a family member to remove their credit card and phone from them; some time their holiday so that they are out of the country when the catalogue arrives; some turn to chocolate and a cup of tea… and five minutes later are adding items to their basket.

I’ll let you ponder which category I fell into.

I’m not alone.  Less than 10 minutes after her original post, LP added a comment “Ok it’s too much – I’m going in.”

And in this post, reader, you will find out why.

You are going to feel some serious Dahlia envy here.

I thought I would briefly research the purpose of the human emotion that is envy.  In my explorations I found:

  • There is a difference between jealousy and envy.  Jealousy is the fear that you will lose what you have, e.g. partner, best friend.  Envy is the desire to have what someone else has, e.g. Dahlias, lots of lovely vases, fabulous views of Sussex countryside.  
  • There is a difference between malicious envy and benign envy.  If you are happy for Sarah Raven to keep her Dahlias, lovely vases and views, but you would like a little bit of them too, this is benign envy.  Ah. 

And in fact my envy received a little test as we approached the Dahlia trial beds.

One of the beds was looking decidedly un-Sarah Raven-like.  All the Dahlias had shortened limbs and no flowers.  A chalkboard by the side explained that Perch Hill received a batch of compost that was contaminated with pesticide and it had ‘clobbered’ this bed of Dahlias.  This does send a little shudder of horror through me.  Any use of pesticides bothers me; I understand that farmers sometimes have to use it to protect their crop, but I would rather a world where we don’t threaten the insect, bird and small mammal population because of our ravenous consumption.

And I did feel sad for Sarah Raven and her team.

So there we go, I have BENIGN envy.

There was so much to see today at Perch Hill that I am splitting this post into two parts.  This post is all about the DAHLIAS!  I will post about the Cutting Garden and Oast Garden tomorrow.

It was a relief to find that not all of the Dahlia trial beds were clobbered.  Here we are about to enter the larger area.  It’s up on a little slope, which really does add to the spectacle, as you get tiers of Dahlias.  But I do not envy that slope one bit.  It must be dreadful to water, if watering is needed.

I am totally envious of that fence.

P7280086

Now join me in some lovely benign envy.

P7280088

I have no idea who this woman is, but she makes a lovely addition to the next two photos, as you feel like you are walking through the Dahlias behind her.

P7280090

As you wind around the perfectly curvaceous path, there is an ombre of one colour blending into another.

P7280091

[Gasp!] There are Gladioli too!  Oh, I love this combination.  I find Gladioli evasive little devils to photograph.  They’re all leany and out of focus at one end.  But I did capture the [oh!] sumptuous petal texture.

P7280095

And here I did get my first fab Gladioli picture.  Ta dah!

P7280096

I love that combination of apricot and plum.  Delicious.  I realise I should have made a note of varieties here, but the label was not immediately obvious, and I did not want to cause any more damage to SR’s trial beds by furtling around the ankles of these magnificent Dahlias, so please forgive me.  I am sure that the Spring catalogue will enlighten us (unless we have to throw it in the freezer/compost/shredder to protect ourselves).

P7280097

This is Gladioli ‘Chocolate’, which sounds like a dangerous combination.

P7280098

This Dahlia was huge.  These pumped up Dahlias seem to be making a comeback following the success of ‘Café au Lait’ last year.  I do love the ruffled silk petals.

P7280101

Here it is again, with a hint of the beautiful views beyond.

P7280103

And – let the envy flow freely here – in the background are Sarah Raven’s compost bays.  Nope it is not a multi-car port, I checked.  Definitely compost bays.  Even Monty Don would feel envious of this.

P7280104

Let’s turn the heat up with the dark-leaved Dahlias.  These all look like Bishops to me.

P7280106

The Amaranthus behind the Dahlias is inspired.  No wonder we all fall at the feet of La Raven.

P7280114

Here’s a close-up Amaranthus.  Looking just a little like Sideshow Bob.

P7280107

The Amaranthus was just giving the Dahlias a little tickle.

P7280191

Do you see the Verbena rigida at the front too? I have not photographed it well, but that just bedazzled me with the dark-leaved Dahlias.

P7280190

The Dahlias start to merge in with the vegetable beds about here.  Lettuce and Dahlias look lovely together, don’t they?

P7280120

Here’s some beautiful kale and Cavolo Nero.

P7280121

And some stunning basil.  Oh the smell!  It is one of my favourite smells in the world.

P7280123

On past the sunflowers…

P7280186

P7280187

We stopped for lunch at this point.  In the glorious barn.  You can see it was delicious.  That was lemon chicken just casually thrown together with capers, anchovies, raisins and olives, a raw kale and pomegranate salad, and a cucumber and dill salad.  With a casual toss of Dahlia petals.

P7280188

After lunch I had to go around the Dahlia beds again.  They were just too gorgeous.  You might have to come with me for a final drool.

P7280166

The wall!  I missed the wall the first time.  And the brick path.

P7280168

One final thought on envy.

  • Envy can be viewed as beneficial.  It can inspire us to take positive actions in our life to move towards our dreams of having what the envied person has.

Hmmm. Well, it has.

Sarah Raven has inspired me to grow Dahlias for the last eight years, not to mention tulips and annuals and Euphorbia and Gladioli.  So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.  I am glad that you inspire benign envy in all who visit your garden and gaze upon your catalogue.  You bring a little bit of glamour to our lives.

Are you tempted by any of these Dahlias?  Or the vegetable patch? What strategies do you employ to manage the Sarah Raven catalogue situation?  

 

If you have enjoyed this post, then consider clicking the ‘Follow’ button at the base of this post. You will receive an email every time I post. You can also share the post via the usual social media channels, and via email.


My aim in this blog is to share the little pops of wonder I get from gardening and from nature.  We live in a stressful world and just slowing down for long enough to enjoy a simple bud or leaf or a butterfly can be a perfect antidote.

 

 

 

47 Comments Add yours

  1. Linda Casper says:

    #envy. Sarah Raven catalogue is my reading material if choice.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes; brilliant for the end of the day!

  2. Kath says:

    A big yes WOW such a joy to walk through the garden with you Ali.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Kath!

  3. Tish Farrell says:

    Oh goodness. This looks like heaven. I have enough trouble fending off the total allure of the catalogue, but to be in the actual garden…

    1. Ali says:

      Yes. It was a test of my restraint!

  4. janesmudgeegarden says:

    I know envy. I’ve had it many times just reading your posts!!! And I have, at times, immediately resorted to online catalogues and allowed myself to buy a few (only a few!) plants perhaps not quite suitable for this climate because of it.

    1. Ali says:

      Sorry Jane. We are all the same, I think!

  5. pommepal says:

    Total and full blown envy, I LOVE dahlias but they definitely don’t like the sub tropics. So I’ll just have to drool over them in your blog

  6. More lovely work. We both really like dahlias. You may know a vole has made off with the Bishop of Llandaff

    1. Ali says:

      Gah!! I don’t think we have voles; I have heard they are a menace!

  7. I enjoyed your post and its great pics and I’ve been to SR’s garden a few times. Am I the only one though who doesn’t like dahlias? They leave me cold. I’ve no desire to grow them which is lucky cos they’d get eaten. Great colours of course but no dahlias for me. Anyone else?

    1. Heyjude says:

      No dahlias for me either LCG. I’m not at all tempted by them and that’s a good thing because they would get eaten by the S&S down here, not to mention the earwigs…

      1. Ah a kindred spirit! I mean – no scent, no waving about in the breeze, hardly any wildlife value, a magnet for slugs and snails, colours hard to place as the rest of the garden is just shades of green, heavy heads that hang down, staking, tying, deadheading, watering, I could go on. No doubt I am wrong on some counts and dahlia lovers will think me a twerp.

      2. Heyjude says:

        Hahaha… that made me laugh! I hadn’t thought about all of those attributes, but yes. The slugs bit puts me off. I feed enough of the little b***ers

      3. Ali says:

        Oddly I don’t get earwigs in this garden – I grow my dahlias in raised beds – maybe they can’t climb? I used to get them in my old garden.

      4. Heyjude says:

        I have seen them here, they eat the clematis 😦
        Which are planted in a raised walled bed! Last year they came inside my conservatory where they munched on the Basil. Horrid things.

      5. Ali says:

        Ew. Yes, and it’s the name too.

    2. john smith says:

      They do seem to need a lot of dead heading to keep flowering; I am on the fence with them – jury is still out.

      1. Ali says:

        They do need deadheading every couple of days. They are not low-maintenance.

    3. Ali says:

      That is the interesting thing about gardening, isn’t it? I am the same with asters.

      1. Oh dear – for me asters were two foot of rusty stem with a pale mauve daisy on the top. Maybe they don’t like town gardens.

      2. Ali says:

        Yes, I’m not just ‘meh’ about asters, I actively hate them! They just look dry and dusty and straggly and really disgusting colours!

      3. Yes! Horrible pale murky pinks and mauves. Nor autumn colours at all. !

  8. Rupali says:

    Lovely lovely flowers. I wish there were such beautiful gardens in my reach. Does it mean I envy you Alison 😀

  9. Heyjude says:

    Been drooling over the SR catalogue for a week now. Those tulip combinations just set out to trap me every year! And her catalogue is far superior to anyone else’s. So yes I am envious. I envy SR and I envy you your wonderful garden. I hope that doesn’t make me a bad person. #BenignEnvy

    1. Ali says:

      Although Chiltern Seeds did compete this year! It was great to see some healthy competition.

      1. Heyjude says:

        Ah, yes I recall you mentioning the seed catalogue. I really shouldn’t look…

  10. bcparkison says:

    This was a big pop of wonder. I love ,love the brick wall and the fence…well let’s just say”Ooh my”.beautiful….Thank you.

  11. Gorgeous photos, Ali – such rich colors! I’ve been a fan of Sarah Raven ever since I read her book “The Bold and Brilliant Garden” – I can’t imagine having to deal with her catalog (not available here in the U.S.). Looking forward to the Part 2 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      That was the first gardening book I bought. The spine is falling apart.

  12. Susan Beard. says:

    I spend hours ‘ordering’ everything I like,with gay abandon,then throw away the list the following day. Grabbing happy moments…that’s what life is about.

    1. Ali says:

      That is very good idea!

  13. Oh my…..oh my….. I have post envy! THIS is why I started the #MyGloriousGarden linky and hashtag for these types of visits! I’m in love and I have just googled when their next open day is….I would love to go here, it looks like heaven in a garden. Thanks for sharing! X

    1. Ali says:

      It is. Every open day I have ever been to has just blown me away. SR knows how to put on a show!

  14. A big dahlia fan I am not, even though I grew up with them and they bring back fond memories of my Grandfather, who could grow anything. But, I sure do love that charming fence and it would be so easy to make.

    1. Ali says:

      I am very impressed by that can-do attitude, Cindy!

  15. Cathy says:

    Good to visit SR’s garden with you, Ali. I feel admiration rather than envy when her catalogue arrives – brilliantly colourful and co-ordinated but must confess that I am more likely to fish for ideas and buy (cheaper) elsewhere…

    1. Ali says:

      Me too! I am rather in awe of her eye for putting together a ‘collection’, and I tend to buy one or two of those for pots. But if I can find the same varieties in JParkers wholesale I share a batch with my mum!

      1. Cathy says:

        That’s the way to do it!

  16. Chloris says:

    Lovely and no earwig damage in sight, I wonder how she manages that.

    1. Ali says:

      [speaking very quietly] They don’t seem to have found us in this garden…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s