And farms and for how long I can keep this alphabet going... It was time for my final birthday present today. A day with Sarah Raven at Perch Hill Farm learning about how to create my own cutting garden.
What an amazing setting. So tranquil and lovely. Coffee in Emma Bridgewater mugs, lunch around a huge table in the conservatory, flowers galore and an engaging and educational course to boot.
I have to confess that I'm not very good when it comes to gardening, practical or otherwise. What I am good at is getting the name of plants thoroughly wrong, and we're all doomed if you ask me to bring hardy/half hardy and all those jazzy elements into the equation. Needless to say, I was a little worried that I would be too much of a beginner for the course but fortunately that didn't seem to be a problem. Things started to click into place. What helped enormously was that Sarah was just so lovely and down to earth. She is clearly smitten with gardening and all things flowers and that is rather infectious. What's more dear readers, whilst Mr M was out with the head gardener as a volunteer for the day, I think I started to get the gardening bug.
Before I start gushing, I shall quickly show you the cutting garden at Perch Hill itself. It is, quite simply, fantastic. It reminded me of some of the beds at Sissinghurst - which is really no surprise. I had no idea that Dahlias could grow to such an amazing size. Absolutely stunning.
What's more, Sarah very kindly let us cut some stems to take home with us. I've got a great mix of pompon, decorative and cactus (oh yes - get me!!). It felt so decadent to be chopping flowers left, right and centre. I should perhaps explain that this was all the more so because we struggle to grow flowers in our garden thanks to the vast amount of shade.
It's as though time stands still at Perch Hill Farm. I didn't want to leave. It's not very big, but if you do get a chance to visit when they're open, do. It's just so very lovely. They also have a tiny shop, so obviously I didn't go home empty handed.
Thank you Mum and Dad for such a thoughtful present.
p.s. thank you for all of your lovely comments this week. I'm a little behind with responding, so do bear with me. And don't forget, if you would like to win my well-thumbed copy of The Dressmaker, leave a comment here.