On a cold and foggy evening a large gathering of members and guests at Roundwood Park School were captivated by a superb master class accompanied by a colourful slide show depicting the succession planting in the mixed border at Great Dixter by Head Gardener Fergus Garrett.
The garden is managed in the same way as in Christopher Lloyd’s time. High impact visual displays but also intimacy in plant combinations. All within a strong infrastructure of buildings, garden hedges and landscaped trees. Wildflower meadows flow into the garden and cut twice a year after seeds have set.
The trees within the meadows are allowed to grow in their natural state without too much interaction from pruning.
The borders are mixed plantings of trees, shrubs, biennials, annuals and climbers. The trees give structure, perennials give us the main season along with self sowing biennials that soften the picture. Everything is under planted with bulbs, pockets of annuals and ephemerals that lengthen the display from spring through autumn.
The display in the garden works in a series of peaks and troughs depending on the season.
The borders are mixed but not herbaceous. Choosing flowers that give 4 month displays than 4 weeks always important to maintain colour. Some smaller borders at Great Dixter have remained the same for 20 years with clever underplanting. Primroses/snowdrops in early spring followed by tulips in late spring and fuchsias from summer onwards, just one example for light maintenance throughout the year!
For further information on Great Dixter opening times and tours go to: greatdixter.co.uk
Thanks for informative report of Fergus Garrett’s talk. Only wish I could have been there. I am always impressed in how you get the reports out so quickly and how good they are. Diana Parrott
Many thanks for your kind comments!