I’ve visited the garden at Great Dixter twice this year, in late May and early September. On each occasion the garden lived up to its reputation for presenting an ever-changing scene to the visitor. Given the eloquence with which Christopher Lloyd and now Fergus Garrett describe this special corner of East Sussex, I don’t plan to compete but to present some photographs taken on these visits and try to convey the uniqueness of Great Dixter.
Farewell to Great Dixter for this year. I shall leave the last words to Christopher Lloyd, whose correspondence with Beth Chatto I’m enjoying reading at the moment: Dear Friend and Gardener. In a letter dated 14 September 1997 he muses upon the secret behind his planting style: The placing of plants in relation to their neighbours is so important and so fascinating, colour being only one aspect to consider. Heights, shapes and textures, as well as season of comeliness, are all factors to be considered……I love the bumpiness of my plantings and the way it is possible to place a tall, but thin-textured plant quite near to the front, while channels of low-growers may appear as you approach and lead you to the border’s back or centre…… Continuity of interest is a subject I find specially interesting, and the devices for obtaining it, some of them quite labour-intensive, admittedly, but by no means all.
Visiting Great Dixter in late spring and almost four months later, in late summer, meant that I saw that continuity of interest in action in all its bumpy comeliness. I hope these photographs convey some of the magic of the place.
Kew: 10 October 2021
*September Song: Music: Kurt Weill / Lyrics: Maxwell Anderson