Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Inspiration

Inspiration is what I found today - of the sharp intake of breath kind, the joy of discovering somewhere totally in tune with your sensibilities, a place full of a dynamic creativity in action.

Avert your eyes from the boards

And where did you find this, you may ask? Well, today I was privileged enough to pay a visit to Great Dixter, which is one of the most wonderful gardens I have ever seen, surrounding a mellow old timbered house, that has the qualities of somewhere out of a tale of history and mystery.

A few pots by the door

Not only did I find inspiration in the magnificent creativity of the planting and the surprising and magical juxtapositions to be found in the series of yew-enclosed gardens, but I was also lucky enough to spend some time sitting on the sofa in the soft, ochre light of a cavernous drawing room listening to Fergus Garrett, the head gardener, explain his vision for Great Dixter, and his philosophy of gardening.

In spite of his busy schedule Fergus was charming and welcoming, and interested in permaculture to boot, which must be a good thing, and in a short time I learned a lot from him about establishing and managing a meadow, too. The meadows at Great Dixter are a sight to behold, even this late in the season, the long borders are breathtaking, and the compost heaps quite magnificent.


A happy place to work it must be: one lady told us that she had been there for 35 years! The house and garden are suffused with the spirit of the late Christopher Lloyd, whose renown as gardener and writer does not need rehearsing, and remain true to his memory without being preserved in aspic.

I was given Christopher Lloyd's book, Gardener Cook, some years ago: it is a lovely book which led us through our earliest days of growing our own food, a combination of commonsense gardening advice and simple, delicious recipes for dishes made with the produce of your garden - and my outing today has inspired me to read it again and try out some more of those recipes.

Patchwork of pink and yellow: you could do this at home

And looking at the wonderful combinations of colours and flowers and foliage in Fergus Garrett's plantings has inspired me to be even more adventurous in my own little patch, and given me confidence in what I have done already. Not to mention the fact that yellow rattle is what I need to primp my meadow to perfection.

So if you were considering a day out, one at Great Dixter is well worth the journey - you will be sure to find pleasure, and inspiration, as well as ideas achievable in the smallest of plots and on the smallest of scales.

A front door to aspire to

27 comments:

Liz said...

Beautiful photographs - looks like a lovely place - very inspiring.
Liz

Nicky said...

I have been to Great Dixter and was in awe of that place - both house and garden. The atmosphere was magical too!

Christopher Lloyd was a great one for breaking the established rules and it gave his gardening a freshness that others are only just catching up with...

Amy said...

Oh, I want to visit! It looks beautiful.

Isobel said...

What a gorgeous place!!
xx

Jooles said...

oh my goodness, what a place!
it looks stunning
j x

jordiegirl said...

What a beautiful old house and lovely photos too.

Isisjem said...

Lovely pics - I could tell from the thumbnail on my blog roll it was Great Dixter. Have never been but have wanted to since...forever!

greenrabbitdesigns said...

That is one spectacular entrance. It does look like a wonderful place.

marigold jam said...

Looks great - you also had a better day weatherwise than we did at Hestercombe by the look of it!

Menopausalmusing said...

Did you hear the sharp intake of breath when I looked at this post?


Oh, MY!

WinnibriggsHouse said...

Certainly one to add to my 'where to go' list. Stunning!

Florence and Mary said...

Gorgeous!

Victoria xx

Frances said...

Thank you for this beautifully written and photographed post...reminding me of yet another garden I so hope to be able to visit someday. I imagine that this time of year is one of its best show times, but that the imagination of Mr Lloyd makes it a great place to see round the year.

I particularly liked that photo of the pink and yellow flowers with the complementing shades of green.

Best wishes!

Thistle Cove Farm said...

That does look like a fabulously beautiful garden!

gill said...

I'm a big fan of Christopher Lloyd and I have most of his books! I would love to visit Great Dixter - I have at last got some yellow rattle established in a corner of my garden, it took a few years before it really got going! I love it

gillyflower said...

What a wonderful day you must have had Pomona!
I visited there a couple of weeks ago for a few hours only, and it was the most incredible, magical, inspiring garden I have ever been too - it was full of beautiful plantings, so much of interest, almost too much to take in, in one visit.
I cannot wait to go again, luckily we live only half an hour away.
Thank you for sharing this, and for your kind comment on my blog.

Sandi said...

What a stunning home and garden, the thing of my dreams. I want a home that has a cottage garden to fill up the front yard and the veggies and chooks out the back.
x Sandi

taylorsoutback said...

It would be difficult to move past the front entrance! Love the gathering of assorted pots and all the varieties of plants.

But then to actually enter through that door and be inside...sensory overload!

**Anne** said...

Just beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
Anne xx

Helen Philipps said...

Beautiful, inspiring pictures of Great Dixter - I love both the house and the garden and the way they work so well together.
Helen x

Sarah said...

Beautiful. We've been there too, and it does take your breath away. I found it a very calming place to be.
x

Little Blue Mouse said...

What a gorgeous garden!

Sue said...

Sounds as though you had a lovely day and a sunny one too with those great photos.

Barbara said...

I love Dixter. Loved it even more when Christopher was still alive and one could chat with him when he walked around the garden.

Rowan said...

I'd love to visit Great Dixter one day, not only the garden but the house itself is so beautiful. I've always enjoyed Christopher Lloyd's writing, he was a no nonsense type but he could be very amusing too.

silverpebble said...

Oh I have wanted to go there for ever so long. I adore the blend of ancient wood and building materials with the drifts of delightful planting. Thankyou for sharing your pictures, Pomona.

ElfRenee said...

Wow! Unbelieveably beautiful!

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