Saturday, 16 April 2011

Spring at Great Dixter

This week I went to see a garden that is weeks ahead of mine!! Being at Great Dixter reminded me what a huge difference there is between Sussex and the North; here we have trees just starting into leaf, there I saw a bluebell wood full out under hazel coppice. The journey back on the train was like seeing the progression of the seasons in reverse.

What a joy it was to visit Dixter. I felt so at ease there, so relaxed, lulled by the washes of colour, the unpretentious and happy mixture of bulbs, perennials, annuals, shrubs, trees, topiary, wood and stone. The tulips were at their best, here subtle combinations of purple with silver foliage of cardoons, there jazzy orange with blue. There is such a sense of playfulness and exuberance in the way it is planted, Christopher Lloyd's spirit infusing the place, yet not static like a historic garden that remains stuck in a planting plan and never changes.

I loved the use of aged, silvered wood, tall poles to support honeysuckles, or to grow clematis behind espaliered fruit trees as in this photo. The wooden staves have sagged and settled like a ship, split lenthways providing gaps that ladybirds can overwinter in, giving a rhythmn and patina to the dry wood.

I came home inspired and dissatisfied with my own garden at the same time!

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