Tag Archives: kent gardens

Great Dixter – or how to break all those horticultural rules !

11 Jun

Just returned from a lovely weekend in Kent, spent stitching and garden visiting, so plenty to write about over the next few weeks !

20140611-202050-73250151.jpg

First stop was Great Dixter. Set on the edge of the Sussex Weald, the surrounding countryside couldn’t be more English – rolling hills, green fields, oak woods – a green and pleasant land!

20140611-202239-73359459.jpg

The house and surrounding buildings at Great Dixter are ancient timbered structures with soft painted plaster panels and tiny diamond paned windows. We didn’t actually venture into the house but I imagine its all oak floors and panelling and really rather dark. However every window would disclose a gem of a garden!

The house dates from the mid 15th century and had been in the Lloyd family since 1910. The garden structure, designed by Edward Lutyens in 1910, was established by Christopher Lloyd’s mother Daisy. Christopher began to be involved in the garden in the 1950s and was finally able to begin to make his unique mark.

20140611-202351-73431445.jpg

The traditional English garden is still there underneath – yew hedges, ancient roses, beautiful garden buildings but Christopher Lloyd has almost acted like a rebellious teenager and has tweaked everything as if to really annoy his mother!

The neatly manicured lawns have been turned into wildflower meadows, the rose garden has been replaced with tropical splendour, the herbaceous borders have startling colour combinations that would never have been allowed in Edwardian times and the pots would’ve given her a heart attack !

20140611-202529-73529759.jpg

There are no neat rows of bedding, no formal parterres, and no lawns clipped to within an inch of their lives. And somehow it’s really refreshing,

Ferguson Garrett , head gardener/designer/guru, has maintained Christopher
Lloyd’s vision since his death in 2006 and continues to play with different colours/shapes and forms.

I particularly liked, what I guess is actually a trial border at the back of the vegetable garden, planted up with only a dozen varieties of herbaceous perennial but so well chosen to give you a really long season of interest.

20140611-202647-73607851.jpg

Compared to a National Trust garden ( and more on that when I write about Sissinghurst) there is a wonderful sense of freedom here, where rules are made to be broken, and just because the RHS /NT don’t do it, doesn’t mean to say it won’t work.

We got completely lost amongst the 6ft high borders, along increasingly narrow paths – the box /yew hedges were in desperate need of a short back and sides! – and sat sipping tea whilst watching the swallows dive under beams to their nests in the wonderful old barns.

20140611-202841-73721492.jpg

The extensive nursery was hard to resist, the tea offer was rather disappointing – plastic cups, no cake – would’ve been lovely to find a great pop up cafe offering tasty organic delicacies. The shop was lovely with lots of unusual gardening inspired gifts.

You must visit if you’re ever that way – it is so refreshing to see such a mature garden moving forward.

20140611-203004-73804821.jpg

20140611-203032-73832241.jpg

Advertisements
Heaven Scent Gardens

garden inspiration & design

Garlic & Sapphire

beautiful and productive gardens & kitchens in action, from the Sarah Raven team

Wild Honey Blog

garden inspiration & design

Plantsmans Blog

garden inspiration & design

purple podded peas

garden inspiration & design

Lobster and Swan

garden inspiration & design

GARDENISTA

garden inspiration & design

Lottie Land Girl

Living the 'Good Life' the Brown way!

Decorator's Notebook

Decorating ideas and lifestyle inspiration from Decorator's Notebook

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.