A Treat at Great Dixter

Great Dixter Snowdrops and Giant Fennel

Friends of Great Dixter were invited to a post- Christmas event at the end of January to join Fergus Garrett, students and staff. Warm spiced home-made apple juice and biscuits were available for refreshment and the archives were open for those who had not already seen them. We were welcomed into the Great Hall where a huge fire crackled and students created a ladder from chestnut poles gathered from the surrounding area. Outside, Fergus demonstrated how, using a traditional A-frame and tools, chestnut poles could almost perfectly be split ready for use. Of course, the highlight was being able to look around the gardens at a time when they are not usually open to the public. For those who have watched Fergus’ lectures on successional planting, the practice was evident in the canes laid out on the soil. Fergus’ favourite giant fennels were already unfurling and the gardens were positively covered with Galanthus Atkinsii, both of which are clearly visible in the photograph above. An added bonus was that the day was sunny and moderately mild. What a treat.

Pat K

A visit to Great Dixter

As you will see from our website What’s On, there are a lot of virtual garden tours now taking place online, but for those members who like to smell the plants and feel the breeze, this isn’t quite the same!  Great excitement then as Pat and I decided to visit Great Dixter – for both of us it was the first garden visit of the year.

Fennel at Great Dixter

We had wondered quite how social distancing would work at Great Dixter, mindful of the narrow paths and tight spaces. However, the one way system in operation and the limitation on the number of visitors at any one time proved very effective. The only area currently out of bounds was the vegetable garden. Covid-19 is a truly devastating disease and it is hard to see any good in the current situation, but reductions in visitor numbers in galleries and in gardens does mean that you can take your time and appreciate things better.

We marvelled at the huge Fennel, which Fergus Garrett loves, scattered throughout the gardens.

The glory of the varieties of Phlox which seem to be in abundance everywhere. We mourned the loss of the name Aster (now the unpronounceable  Symphyotrichium). I fell in love with the Pelargonium Concolor Lace.

We discovered a beautifully unusual double burgundy coloured Antirrhinum, but couldn’t find seeds for it. And, of course, we bought some plants! Both Pat and I have gardens already crammed with plants, but have a similar approach to gardening which is that there is always room for one more! In my garden, at least, this results in an undisciplined profusion. I look with envy at spaces which are carefully laid out (like the Chelsea garden below) and where every plant has its place, but this is something I can only aspire to!

Chelsea 2018 calm garden
Chelsea 2018, calm, restful and carefully curated

Vija and Pat