Battleaxe organises our WI Gardening Group, and this was one of our scheduled garden visits.
I'd never really heard of Sarah Raven, but turns out she writes a weekly column for the Daily Telegraph. (Only the Guardian gets across this threshold). She is married to Adam Nicolson, and now, apparently, they live at Sissinghurst. She has published many glossy and expensive books, most of which were on display in the shop at Perch Hill, which is the base for her cookery and flower-arranging school.
|The Sarah Raven Lifestyle experience|
|I could do that|
We all got there eventually, paid our £5 entrance, and a further £5 for coffee and a piece of cake.
The garden was pretty, but not very big. It is primarily a cutting garden for flower-arranging, so there were beautiful drifts of one type of flower. The vegetables were also excellent.
|Cornflowers - I love them|
|Astrantia, cornflowers and some white thing....|
In the shop, the packeted seeds were at least £2.50, and everything else seemed a bit expensive.
I enjoyed the outing, and I hope our gang did too, but I kept on getting Not Value For Money messages flashing across my brain, and I sense that S Raven Enterprises Inc. is a mean money-generating machine.
Never mind that, what puzzles me in this life is why so much in my garden is either stunted, dried up or eaten by snails, while plants in the gardens we visit are huge, thick, lush and free from nibbling and holes. Sarah R says no pesticides are used, but perhaps the staff are out there with industrial-size vats of chemicals as soon as the public's back is turned.
I am out in our garden day after day with the hose, but it is so dry. The snails this year have overwintered, and are as big as golf-balls. I collected a whole flower-pot full the other day, and went to chuck them over the back, but my foot slipped and they ended up back in our garden again.
|Our lettuces would never look like this....|
Now, here's a question to finish up with. How do specialist pests, like lily beetles, carrot flies etc. know that you have got the relevant foodstuff? Last year we were visited by a gooseberry saw-fly and one of our new bushes turned into a skeleton overnight. None of the neighbours have gooseberries, so how did the fly know to call on us? We were watching Monty Don, and he said that carrot flies only fly a couple of feet off the ground. So how do they get over high fences into gardens in the first place?