Dixter Diary – Day 4

Today was another excellent day at Great Dixter.  The home and gardens of Christopher Lloyd are both entrancing and well known in the gardening world.  If you don’t know who Christopher Lloyd is yet, do some research as he wrote many excellent books and redefined gardening in many ways which is being carried further forward by Fergus Garrett and his staff.  See www.greatdixter.co.uk for more information on this magical place.
Today was my wettest one yet although the sun did occasionally appear.  I realized that the gardeners all wear full rain suits in the morning due to the extremely heavy dew on everything as the sun rises.  You would otherwise get drenched just moving through the gardens and brushing up on foliage and plants.  The suits came in handy today though.  I realized that I’m not an XL and my over-sized rain suit is bulky and poorly fitted so it’s like I’m in a space suit!  My morning stroll had some drizzle involved but I focused today on plant details as seen below….
 undersides of the fronds of the Autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora)
blue-leaf rose (Rosa glauca) hips abound out in the gardens offering vivid coloration
 euphorbia (Euphorbia chariacas subsp. wulfenii) looking good with some dew this morning
 the exotic garden continues to draw me every morning
above is one of my favorite combinations thus far
The nursery at Great Dixter, started by Christopher Lloyd in 1954, is excellent and I mean excellent.  I arrived early for my duties so perused the selection, much of which is grown from Great Dixter seed or propagated on site, and got goosebumps.  Granted, much of it would not grow back home but I’ve seen very steady traffic in the nursery which can be patronized by visitors and regular customers alike.  The rain basin below (located in the nursery) with water cans comes in handy.  The nursery staff is also quite friendly although I haven’t met all of them yet.


Above is what I would call an impressive compost pile.  At about 18′ tall and growing, the intent is to go up the ladder and dump at the peak.  I’ve been up that ladder a dozen times already with no mishaps yet!  Speaking of impressive, this slug, seen this morning, measured about 4″ long and I almost picked up a different, 6″ version of this later this morning that I thought was debris!


After general clean-up (sweeping, tidying, light deadheading) in my two assigned gardens, I moved on to processing bulbs (above) for their big Plant Fair on October 3rd and 4th.   These are bulbs that were lifted from the gardens or taken out of containers.  I processed a couple hundred and then was shifted to work on changing out a pot display with Jonny, Susan and Thies.  Directly below is Susan heading off with the first batch of potential candidates.  The pots are changed over many times during the year and a stock of many, many containerized plants is held in reserve to use in these artistic arrangements. With Jonny as lead, the four of us worked well together to create an engaging combination.  Below are some of the highlights of this fun task.  At the end of the day, we all helped Fergus and Rich fork recently cut hay in to the trailer and haul it to another pile.  One of the things I appreciate the most is the willingness of everyone to help each other out.  They are a tight knit group and it shows.  Again, glad to be hear and some additional photos are further below….I felt my age today but didn’t want the youngsters to know it!  Good exercise for sure!


 Jonny is center with Thies to the left.  Below is Thies showing off his “backing up” skills which were admittedly excellent


 Great Dixter gardener Michael (above) gave a tour to a German group (Michael is German) and pointed out what we were doing…although we’re not sure if he was complimenting the work or not… 🙂
 My cohorts (Thies, Jonny and Susan, left to right) put together a nice collection of pots with the end result below





 start of fall color on oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) – woody shrub
 impressive shearing here by Ben
they even sell fresh, chemical free, produce daily!