During this winter cold snap, I have been spending some time indoors, pouring over pictures of Great Dixter in preparation for the Garden Inspirations Workshop, a fundraiser for the Latchis Theater in Brattleboro, Vermont. On January 25, Gordon Hayward, Julie M. Messervy, Dan Snow, and I will give talks about gardening and design. I will be giving a talk about my experience volunteering in the garden at Great Dixter, sharing about the gardens, the work, the people and the plants! To read more about the day and how to purchase tickets, click here:
Above is a picture of the front lawn at Great Dixter, one of the few places that a traditional, short mown lawn still exists. In the center of the lawn is a small, oval shaped garden, always full of interesting plants. Two of my favorite newly discovered annuals, Scabiosa autopurpurea 'Beaujolais bonnets' and Nigella hispancia, happily wave about. The central plant is a bamboo (the tips poke into the picture from the upper left), Chusquea culeou, and it was grown from seed at Great Dixter. Because this plant has a lot of variability from seed, head gardener Fergus Garrett grew fifteen different plants, and selected one that most closely resembled the parent plant. Fergus chose this particular plant for the prehistoric way it came out of the ground (the stems are very dark and the new shoots zigzag off the central stem). For seven years it only produced fluffy new shoots until finally the sought after characteristic emerged. Fergus said he kept the plant for so many years, because he believed that this particular plant had good form in it. Those kinds of long haul lessons are so valuable to hear, that some of the most exciting gardening comes from years and years of working in the same beds with the same plants, watching them, waiting for them, and encouraging them.