This blog post speaks for itself. It is a tribute to one of England's most beautiful gardens, Great Dixter. I can safely say it is the most inspirational place I've visited in England. It is a orgy of colour, texture and form and one runs out of superlatives to describe its beauty.
Yesterday I drove to Great Dixter with a friend. I have always wanted to go so it was with great excitement that I drove down there. Great Dixter was the family home of gardener and gardening write Christopher Lloyd who wrote over 40 books and articles. He died 10 years ago and the house is now under the stewardship of head gardener Fergus Garrett and the Great Dixter Charitable Trust. Great Dixter is not just an historic house but a magnificent garden, a centre of education and a place of pilgrimage for horticulturists from across the world.
As you walk up the path towards the house with wild flower meadow, cow parsley and ancient fruit trees either side you can see the crooked character of the entrance porch.
To the right is the sunken garden which is a blaze of colour, textures and forms. There is a lilly pond in the centre and narrow paths around the perimeter with barely space to pass. Actually the gardens are full of these narrow paths which you can barely see for the plant growth.
We had a long chat with one of the students working on the garden. He said the ethos for the planting is undulation and this is apparent everywhere. Also they aim for different textures and forms and mix up the colours as you can see from the images. He also said that they use pots to create displays which can be moved about to create different displays or replaced when the flowers are past their best. This is a very useful tip for any gardener. Here are some of the displays that are done purely with pots (hard to believe!)
The plants grow so high that you can barely see over them but the house peeks over the top from every angle.
The house and outbuildings are simply stunning - interesting chimneys, tiled roofs, rafters etc
In front of the house are more wild flower meadows with narrow mown or brick paths and ancient trees.
What I love most is the informal planting of mixed colours
And finally a few close-ups of flowers that caught my eye
If you have the chance to visit Great Dixter I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I ran out of superlatives by the time we left !!
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Sorry for my radio silence since my last post on 31 October - in the run up to Christmas I was manically busy with client work and in January I headed to Sydney for five weeks.
I thought I'd kick off with one of the highlights of my Sydney sojourn - the coastal walk from South Coogee (where I was staying) to Bondi, a distance of about 10k with some of the most spectacular scenery. I did this walk last year with a friend but this time it was just me, my iPhone and my DSLR. The weather was cloudy, windy and about 26C so perfect for a long walk.
A couple of weeks ago a friend and I went to Charleston, the home of the Bloomsbury Group, to do a lampshade painting workshop with Cressida Bell who is the talented artist granddaughter of the artist Vanessa Bell and daughter of Quentin Bell. I wonder if you are as passionate about the Bloomsbury Group as I am? I devour books about them and have often visited Charleston, Berwick, Firle and Monk's House.
Petersham Nurseries is one of those places that is good for the soul. It is all about beauty and style, both outside and inside. I'm there at least three times a month and have rarely left there empty handed!
It's a half hour drive from my home which takes me across Richmond Park, another place that is good for the soul. It's hard to believe that you are in a big city when you are in the middle of the park surrounded by trees, bracken and deer.
It’s been a few weeks since my last blog post mainly due to been manically busy with client work but I also had a two week break in Italy over Easter. As many of you know, I was married to an Italian and lived in Italy for ten years so it’s my spiritual home and I try and go back at least once a year. I stay with friends who live in the Piemonte region and we usually jump into their camper van and head off somewhere for a few days.
Last week I took a friend to the Chelsea Physic Garden for lunch and a wander. I'm a member of the garden and I love to pop in there to sit and read, have lunch or tea & cake, or a wander. I find it a real little oasis in the middle of Chelsea and a source of inspiration.
We parked in Battersea Park and walked over the prettiest of the bridges over the Thames, the Albert Bridge. I whizz over the bridge on my moped but can't stop to admire it or the view so it was a treat to be able to walk over it and take some photos.
esterday I spent an absolutely amazing day out in Sussex with a friend on a "pilgrimage". Having been to see Charleston House and Berwick Church three weeks ago and becoming obsessed with the Bloomsbury Group, I wanted to return to see Monk's House, the home of Virginia and Leonard Woolf and also to visit the church in the village of Firle where Vanessa Bell, her live-in lover Duncan Grant and Vanessa's son Quentin Bell (from her marriage to Clive Bell) are buried.
It was a perfect English summer's day - cloudless sky, a lovely cool breeze and temperatures around 25C. Be warned now, I'm afraid this blog post is serious photographic spam!!
For those of you who don't know Charleston House, it is the home of the Bloomsbury Group and became a country outpost for a group of artists, writers and intellectuals. It started in 1916 when the painter Vanessa Bell, her husband Clive and their two sons Julian and Quentin moved there from London on the recommendation of her sister, the writer Virginia Woolf. With them were another painter Duncan Grant and his friend David Garnett. They rented the late 16th century farmhouse and despite the house having no hot water or heating, guests increased the household. It became a rather unconventional household of friendships and relationships - they didn't separate or divorce, they just reorganised!!!