I’ve always felt that in any one year, there is one perfect ice-cream. Usually near the start of summer, or even late spring, often the first really warm day. You find the ice-cream van at just the right time, and its Mr Whippy is just the right consistency, and the 99 flake is just the right temperature (not melty, not breaking your teeth) and the combination of whippy, flake and cone is just heaven on Earth.
Well today I had the garden equivalent. This was my perfect day.
Let’s get straight to the tulips. I don’t usually go for fringed tulips, but this one is delicious. The pink manages to combine both cool lilac and warm peach tones. The black-purple anthers just enhancing the whole effect.
There aren’t going to be loads of close-ups of tulips in this post, because it is all about the planting combinations. First in the Peacock Garden this sort of meadowy effect with pale pinks and whites with euphorbia and forget-me-nots:
Then someone turned the technicolour dial up a few notches with this:
As I wound my way around the lovely uneven earthen paths under the yew hedging, I came across purple Lunaria annua (Honesty) and Smyrnium perfoliatum (Alexanders):
There would be a sudden bold block of tulips, like this:
If I had to name a perfect spring border, I think this next one would be it. I often take close-ups of tulips because they tend to be surrounded by bare earth at this time of year. Not at Dixter. The tulips are bathing- no, wallowing, in forget-me-nots and poppy foliage.
Let’s go in deeper:
I adore this combination of colours: mid-green and burgundy foliage, amethyst, cherry, orange, cream and white-with-splashes-of-raspberry tulips, a spattering of sky blue forget-me-nots and purple honesty, and lime zing from euphorbia. A perfect border.
Just a little bit closer?
Sublime, isn’t it?
I paused like a butterfly, sunning its wings. For quite some time. [insert moment of ecstasy here].
There were some formal nursery beds, but they still had this Dixterish air of informality and nonchalance, especially when viewed through an espalier screen:
Then let’s wind around here:
Under this lovely magnolia:
Look at the sky!
Then back up here: (yes, I know I’m going in circles, but wouldn’t you?)
Let’s just have a sneaky look down the back of the Long Border, and pretend we are the Dixter gardeners:
Back to where we’re supposed to be, now, front-of-border:
I haven’t grown Tulipa ‘Rococco’ for a few years, but now I want to again. Look at her in a bubble-bath of forget-me-nots:
There were great drifts of tulips of one variety, which then swirled into another:
Again, I marvel at the lushness of the planting. Let’s not forget to look up at the house, though:
I wandered along towards the mulberry tree, which my children colonised a few years ago, climbing up and emerging some time later, covered in juice, as if they had been involved in a terrible accident.
[another moment of ecstasy]
This combination was heart-poundingly beautiful. I also loved that forget-me-nots and primroses had seeded themselves in the cracks of the steps:
They weren’t the only self-seeders. I think the Centranthus ruber has lifted the stone off the wall here!
It is this careless abandon that I love about Dixter. Plants are allowed to do their thing. Hang the consequences.
Shall we go up towards the Blue Garden?
Just gaze a moment on this.
Were you hoping for pots? Go on, then.
The scent was heady. I staggered a bit up those steps.
Climbing (oddly) to the Sunk Garden.
I loved the way the planting was different on each side of this path:
I don’t think anything can beat my Perfect Day at Great Dixter. Better than a Mr Whippy by the sea.
I aim to share whatever is delighting me right now, to bring a little joy and mindfulness to wherever you are. If you would like to receive email notification when I publish a new post, click on the ‘Follow’ button at the bottom of this page!