Jason is a regular contributor to Gardens Illustrated, and his opening talk and slide show exhibited his talent with some stunning images. A number demonstrated an approach where he shot into the very early, or even pre dawn, light to wonderful effect. Clearly it was too late in the day to try the same at Great Dixter, and, probably also too late to become an early bird (when I’m not), but it was certainly an inspirational talk and we were then all let loose in the gardens to try our photographic hand.
To those of you unfamiliar with Great Dixter, it was bought in 1910 by Nathaniel and Daisy Lloyd who employed Edwin Lutyens to restore and remodel the house, including buying and moving a timber framed house from its original location nine miles away.
Development of the garden also had significant input from Lutyens and areas such as the High Garden, Rose Garden and Long Border which he envisaged, remain in place today. Nathaniel enjoyed topiary and there are numerous examples in the garden still. Indeed, the peacocks below are two of many in an entire area known as the peacock lawn.
However, the gardens at Great Dixter became really well known only once Christopher Lloyd, the Lloyd’s youngest child, became involved. His first book ‘The Mixed Border in the Modern Garden’ (1957) described this new way of planting, and he used his experiences and experiments at Great Dixter to inform his writing through his entire life.
As time went on he became synonymous with both successional planting and also bold planting, and although Christopher Lloyd died in 2006, his style of planting continues under the stewardship of his head gardener Fergus Garrett and the Great Dixter Charitable Trust.
I was never in any doubt that the garden would still be looking good in October as it is well known not only for late colour (particularly from dahlias), but also, as mentioned above, successional planting. There was no way the garden would be allowed to ‘tail off’ this early in the year. And even if the plants weren’t at their best, beautiful colour is provided in so many views by the warm, russet tones of the house itself.
There were magnificent pots, both large
and small. (Coincidentally, this beautiful Nerine Sarniensis also featured on The Blooming Garden this week).