Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Shapes (and Colors) of Great Dixter

Yestersay I arrived at Great Dixter in Northiam, England. I will be here for a month, living in the beautiful student accommodations and volunteering with the gardening team. I arrived early morning, rented my car, uneventfully drove myself here, and spent the afternoon settling in. There is an excitement and energy to the place, similar to Hidcote last March, as all hands are on deck, working hard to get the garden ready to open to the public in the beginning of April. I spent a few minutes in the cloudy, late afternoon taking photographs to record some first impressions of the garden. What is striking this time of year is noticing the dynamic positive and negative shapes created by the hedges and topiary!

Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii

The ever lovely wall of Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'

And more incredible topiaries found in the Peacock garden

The classic Great Dixter pot display at the front door

Clematis cirrhosa var. 'Balearica'
A clematis already in bloom!

Hellabore 'Anna's Red'
This is one of the most stunning Hellebores I have ever seen.  It is named after the great garden writer Anna Pavord and was bred by Rodney Davey. This Hellebore is so unusual and so beautiful and so coveted. It hit the market in England this past year and they are currently working on breeding rights for the rest of the world. Read more here!

Ipheion uniflorum
This is the same bulb I saw blooming indoors, in pots, at Smith Botanical Garden, sporting its lovely "stripped trousers." Here it has naturalized all around the doorstep.

The Long Borders, not yet cut down and still so beautiful. I was especially struck by the gray of the santolina, the bronze of the spirea, the green-yellow of the euonymous, the brown-yellow of the grass, and the gray of the still beautiful seed heads of the cardoons. And across the way is the orchard meadow, the crocus just passing by and the daffodils just beginning.

Looking out over the Orchard meadow to the countryside


  1. Helen,
    So beautiful! So glad I noticed your post. And needless to say i am all green in envy of your volunteer position :)

    The Clematis looks so much like a hellebores... it is the stamens and the spots, I think. A beauty.

    I am so looking forward to your future posts this month! I hope you can find the time here or there during the busy spring clean up. How exciting! Enjoy it!

  2. When are you going to put in some topiary at our place? I was thinking a big cat...

  3. Hi Helen! So glad to hear that you had a safe journey to Dixter and I can't wait to read your future posts. How exciting!
    Cheers, Joe

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  5. Oh Helen! I'm so excited to be reading your posts while you are away. What a beautiful place to be spending the next month. Can't wait to track the changes and see all the new buds and blooms through your posts. (Oh, and I agree, I think you should put in some topiary at your place - those shapes are fantastic). -cakes

  6. I will follow your adventures all this month long ! Thanks for sharing that fantastic experience.