My growing obsession blog

Struggles and successes in a suburban garden

Great Dixter August 24, 2010

On Sunday I visited the late Christopher Lloyd’s garden at Great Dixter ( The weather was unkind – wind and heavy rain – but it wasn’t enough to dampen my enthusiasm.

This is only the second time I’ve been to Great Dixter but I’ve been a fan of Christopher Lloyd’s books (eg Succession planting for adventurous gardeners) and garden writing  (Cuttings) for a long time. I wanted to go in August to see what’s in flower right now.

And the garden looked great, so why doesn’t mine?! There were plenty of dahlias and grasses (the fabulous Stipa Gigantea  and Miscanthus Sinensis) looking very impressive, even in the rain. They also used quite a lot of annuals (zinnias, marigolds, nicotiana) to plug any gaps. I really enjoyed discovering lots of different clematis that were clambering through shrubs, up poles, and anywhere else they seemed to get a hold. I definitely need to get some more clematis in my garden – and get better at successional planting.

Christopher Lloyd is well-known for his unusual planting combinations and the garden certainly challenged a lot of my preconceptions but I have to confess I don’t like all the planting combinations used in this garden – probably because of my plant prejudices. For example, I can’t warm to all the Evening Primrose and Verbascum that they’ve let self-seed around the place. (Think I’ll start a new blog post on plant prejudices!)

There is also a very impressive, very tidy, vegetable plot. I wish I had more room to grow vegetables, or to build a compost heap the size of theirs!

As if all this wasn’t enough, there is a really great nursery attached where you can buy more unusual perennials (approx. £4 each) and clematis (£7 each).

I left the garden smiling, slightly damp, clutching a copy of the nursery catalogue. I’m already looking forward to a visit in spring to see the tulips…


2 Responses to “Great Dixter”

  1. Helen Says:

    Rhian – my echinops (kindly donated by your good self!) has now flowered – should I just leave it and will it flower again next year? BTW, you need a Q&A page on your site! x

    • Hi Helen Yes it will come again next year because it’s a perennial. When you cut it down depends on how ‘tidy’ a gardener you are. I’ll be cutting mine down next spring so that insects have somewhere to hide this winter and because it looks nice with frost on! Will give the q&a page some thought- thanks for the suggestion!

      Sent from my iPhone

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