Great Dixter

It’s quite disapointing that having got SO exited about my trip to the gardens at Great Dixter and paying homage to the master, Christopher Lloyd, the reaction of so many of my friends and aquaintances has been “Where?” and “Who?”.  I have been an armchair gardener for many years, and have followed the television gurus right from the beginning.  Percy Thrower? Yes,  I started at very young age (and there was little else on television!) He had a greenhouse with no glass in the studio, and all his flowers bloomed in  black and white.  There was Peter Seabrooke on Pebble Mill at One,  the wonderful Geoffrey Hamilton, Alan Titchmarsh and the gardening woman’s crumpet, Monty Don. They all deferred to the great Christo Lloyd. As far as I know he didn’t ever do much on TV, he would occasionally turn up being deferentially interviewed by one of the above on Gardeners World and tantalizing glimpses would be shown of the house and gardens.  I couldn’t imagine that I would ever be in the vicinity of  Great Dixter for any reason to be able to visit, hence my great excitement.

The house itself is amazing.  Nathaniel Lloyd, Christopher’s father, bought the original farmhouse, immediate grounds and farm buildings in 1910.  As the  comfortably-off owner of a printing works, Nathaniel retired in his forties, and as the father of six, of whom Christopher was the youngest, he wanted to restore and enlarge the house.  With his architect, the now renowned Edwin Lutyens the house was enlarged.

As you aproach the house, the porch, and every thing to the right is 15th or early 16th Century.  Lloyd and Lutyens bought and transported the derelict remains of a timber house nine miles away to become an integral part of the main building.


Everything to the left of the porch is by Edwin Lutyens…

Lutyens wing

We hadn’t factored in a trip round the house, but having seen pictures of the interior, that is a must for the next visit.


But now, the garden…

We were given a clue as to what would be in flower, of particular interest to me as my own garden peaks about mid June and peters out into dull green and brown for the next seven months. Well I did say I was an armchair gardener, and who takes anything in anyway when gazing at Monty Don?

The Long Border at Great Dixter has always been spoken of reverentially…

long border

canna lily long border
long border

And I loved the tropical garden.  Christopher Lloyd was always wanting to move on and change things, and scandalised some of the gardening fraternity by ripping out his mothers rose garden to create this.  I’m always a bit wary of anything ‘tropical’ plonked in the middle of an English country garden and can’t get my head round palm trees and alien spiky things.  But this was tropical colour, and really worked.  Even banana plants.


I tried very hard to photograph a bee on a dahlia.  If you look closely you can just see the bee’s bum disapearing off the top right hand corner!

But I got him in the end!

And a friend!  Even the alien spikey things are photogenic,

and I just kept finding more and more textures and shapes…

…and kept snapping and snapping…

..until we reached the bottom of the garden!

I think I actually reached overload at this point, both in my heads and in my camera  and that is why it has taken so long to get to grips with this post!  So, without further ado, I shall press publish (and be damned) …

3 Responses

  1. So glad you pressed publish !! Beautiful house and gardens are always a treat and it makes me feel better about being too lazy to leave the house since yesterday morning , too . Vicarious fresh air and exercise in a profusion of flowers !

  2. WOW! Beautiful pics! Lucky you to visit such an iconic garden! t.x

  3. Thanks Penny they are beautiful pics and I just love the final one! I can’t wait to pay a visit here! Until you put it down en blog I didn’t realise I also had a crush on Monty Don! You’re right I haven’t a clue what he’s saying!

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