Saturday, 18 June 2011

Galloping Gardener's Pick of the Week © - Great Dixter, East Sussex

There are so many fantastic English gardens in bloom right now, I've decided to highlight one (or possibly more) each week, so readers who are close enough can get there to visit just as soon as possible and enjoy what's blooming! Great Dixter is looking fantastic right now, and is open all weekend, so if you see a break in those storm clouds, get there quick!
First view of the garden, peering through the hedge
Two alligators have appeared  in the Sunk Garden this year!
It doesn't matter how many gardens you've visited, because this garden can't fail to delight - former home of Christopher Lloyd, affectionately known to friends as Christo - it's one of the most enervating and uplifting you'll see! The planting is fantastic; the colours are wonderful; and it's guaranteed to lift your spirits after all the recent rain. 
   Looking at what was going on  in this amazing garden last weekend, one can't help but feel that new life is being breathed into the garden now that work is finished on the house, and you'll find several new touches, like the alligators in the pool in the Sunk Garden that weren't there in previous years.
   From the moment you set eyes on the timber-framed house and walk through the meadow garden at the entrance, you'll know this garden is unique. By all means take a tour of the house, but as you enter, keep an eye out for the plants on the porch, maintained in Lloyd's tradition. He constantly changed the plants here around from March to October to ensure "there's always a greeting as one goes into or out from the house."

It's all about exuberant planting - especially in the High Garden at Great Dixter
Head gardener at this wonderful garden is Fergus Garrett, who worked with Christopher Lloyd right up to his death in 2006. He continues to run the garden at Great Dixter just as he did when Christo was alive and was, until last year,  assisted by Tom Coward, who's moved to Gravetye Manor in Sussex - another must-see garden and home of another great former plantaholic and planstman, William Robinson.
Christopher Lloyd was a firm believer that "plants help each other"
"PLANTS HELP EACH OTHER"
If it's borders you're after ... the whole garden is one great exuberant display of shrubs, climbers, annuals and perennials, all mixed together in true Lloyd style. He maintained:  "Different kinds of plants grown in juxta-position help each other". Well, help or hinder, they all look pretty fantastic here!!
   Many visitors will have heard tell of the famous Long Border at Dixter (top), but in reality the whole garden is fantastic at this time of year and the High Garden (above) is like one huge border, hidden behind the famous peacock topiary. There is also a wonderful Orchard Garden and an Exotic Garden, although I was a little surprised to see so many roses in the latter!
The gardens at Great Dixter are open daily (except Mondays) from 11.00-17.00, until 28 October. The house is open from 14.00-17.00. There are also a series of Study Days at the gardens, headed by Fergus Garrett, so check website for details.

6 comments:

  1. Charlotte, I can never get enough of Great Dixter. I seem to know the place even though I have never visited. How special to have had a friend in Christopher Lloyd.

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  2. Sad to say Alistair that he wasn't a personal friend of mine, but I just love the name "Christo"!

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  3. Definitely a place I'd like to visit some day! Real alligators? I;'d be totally panicked! Your pictures are stunning. Thanks for the virtual tour of this lovely place. ;)

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  4. We visited Great Dixter last year (on your blog recommendation) and it was all that you've said here.....and more! I can't wait to go back again!

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  5. I visited earlier in the year - thought the alligators were a but tacky, but perhaps Christo would have liked them? Maybe...

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  6. love these photos...some day...

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