Brushing past at Great Dixter

It’s a while since I posted A Perfect Day at Great Dixter, and therefore I felt completely justified in returning again today.  I took along a willing victim, my younger daughter.

I may have said before that cake is important when taking young people garden visiting.  So on our arrival, we briefly brushed past the poppies, here in the Sunk Garden.


And then the Ladybird poppies, which Gardening Protégé remembered the name of!  Hurrah!


She was rewarded with rose lemonade and Portuguese custard tart.  All coffee outlets please note, at Dixter all disposable cups and straws are biodegradable, as are the bags in the gift shop.

Suitably refreshed, we made our way back up to the garden.

Junior Garden Visitor found the topiary amusing.  We couldn’t work out what this pair were.  JGV thought a pair of wombles.  I thought funny little men with big noses and woolly hats.


I had meadow-envy throughout the visit.


Look at the orchids!


And yellow rattle.


There was a lot of comfrey.


Which was abuzz with bees.

JGV advised me to take a photo here.  To show the lovely jumble of semi-wild plants that have self-seeded and are providing a spumy fizz.


In addition to meadow-envy, I also have Gladioli-envy.

Twice now I have ordered a job-lot of corms of what I thought were Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus, which on the website look exactly like this:


But when they pop up in May, I am disappointed to find that they are a pale bubble-gum pink, with smaller flowers.  And no shimmer.  Look how these shimmer!


The paths are beautifully narrow at Great Dixter, causing you to have a very interactive experience with the plants.  Quite often you are dancing around them, doing the limbo with them, extricating them from your hair.  I love this up-close-and-personal multi-sensory experience.


Even the non-meadow parts of the garden looked meadowy.  Here are honesty seedheads mingled with alliums and ox-eye daisies:


One of the lovely things about visiting gardens with someone else is that they notice things you would have walked past.  JGV noticed this little hole in the hedge.  When we looked inside we both wanted to make a den.  JGV under-estimated her height and couldn’t quite crawl in.  It was a poignant moment: the start of the end of childhood.


So we sucked on some honeysuckle.


And admired this gorgeous fern, Onoclea sensibilis, with Geranium versicolour.


Here’s another vista, this time with soap-dispenser topiary:


We bounced off some Phlomis fruticosa in the Long Border.  It was surprisingly stiff and springy.




Stopping at the end to admire the mulberries:


And the glorious wall, with self-seeded Centranthus ruber (Red Valerian) and Erigeron karvinskianus (Mexican fleabane):


Sort of leftish, there is K-9 in topiary-form.


That was the point we started to overheat.  We sought refuge again in the lovely Loggia café for lunch.

Dixter did not disappoint.  Whilst I may not have had the total Tuliptastic Out-of-Body Peak Experience of my Perfect Day, it was lovely to share it with TJG.

We bought a little pot of Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus.  The man in the shop said that lots of suppliers are mislabelling the species Gladiolus communis, which self-seeds readily, and is therefore easy to propagate.  The Byzantine form is not fertile, but the precious corms will bulk up.

So I too can have glitzy shine and shimmer.

As for seemingly effortless meadow effects, I will keep on trying.

My aim on this site is to share the sense of wonder I get from gardening and being outdoors.

If you would like to join the joy, click on the ‘Follow’ button at the end of this post. You will receive an email each time I post a little pop of wonder.

28 Comments Add yours

  1. janesmudgeegarden says:

    You both had a really pleasant day out by the sounds of things, and sunny weather too. Don’t those poppies look dashing!

  2. Pam/Digging says:

    I delighted in this post, as I’ve had many a garden visit with my young daughter that unfolded in just such a spirit of pleasant discovery. I especially loved the poignancy of your observation about her growing out of childhood. Lovely all around!

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you, Pam, I am glad you enjoyed it.

  3. annpappas says:

    It’s all so pretty! I managed to get my daughter out to Kirstenbosch on Saturday and I’ve posted some more photos, with more to come. I’m glad I did because it’s poring with rain today and I’m working next Saturday

    1. annpappas says:

      pouring, I meant!

    2. Ali says:

      That looked like a lovely day out too, Ann. X

  4. Thanks for sharing your visit to Great Dixter with us once again; I love being able to vicariously enjoy the garden! It looks gorgeous.

  5. Meadow envy, yes! What a beautiful and whimsical walk you invited us to join, Ali – thank you!

  6. Heyjude says:

    Dixter never fails to impress. Sigh… I think I may have moved to the wrong county. I have tried to sow seeds of Erigeron karvinskianus which are supposed to self-seed so how hard can it be for them to grow? But ne’er a one germinated. Too wet? I have succumbed to a couple of small plants this year and put them in different places so hopefully one will survive and cast its seeds. I have the Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus bought corms from Sarah Raven. Not many came up last year, but I transplanted some elsewhere in the garden and they have flowered. Still quite small flowers, but that lovely shimmery pink. I do hope they bulk up as they are very pretty.

    1. rusty duck says:

      E. karvinskianus succeeds for me but only in places where it is really well drained. Put it in the crevice of a wall, or on the side of a slope, and watch it take off!

      1. Heyjude says:

        I am sure I shook some seed on the wall, hoping it would do exactly that, but zilch. I have planted one on the wall so lets hope it does what it is supposed to do this time!

      2. Ali says:

        Maybe the seed is biding its time?

      3. Heyjude says:

        I am sure I have probably removed seedlings that I thought were weeds, but not where these were spread. Who knows!

    2. Ali says:

      That always puzzles me too – how plants that are notorious self-seeders fail to germinate when sown!

  7. rusty duck says:

    Dixter continues to be as glorious as I’ve always imagined it.
    But the burning question of the day.. how did you get the video to load in WP. What format is it in?

    1. Ali says:

      Just taken on my iPhone. I can’t check what format for a couple of days as I’m away from home and my laptop. It was easier than uploading an audio file (when I did have to change the format).

  8. Nicky says:

    Looks amazing!

  9. bcparkison says:

    I enjoyed your visit and would too like to have a meadow view with a secret hide-a-way behind a rock wall

    1. Ali says:

      Hidey holes are under-explored in the garden! Or maybe that’s why people have summer houses!

  10. Thank you for taking us on your adventure. This post delighted me!

    1. Ali says:

      I’m very pleased you enjoyed it, Shelly. X

  11. Clare Pooley says:

    How nice to visit a garden with a willing daughter. My elder daughter is only now, at nearly 33, saying how much she would like to garden! I am pleased she has caught the bug, though!

    1. Ali says:

      Ah, that is lovely. I was in my mid-thirties when I got into gardening. I guess it isn’t a priority when you are younger!

  12. Sam says:

    Ah, such a glorious garden and lovely to see it in it’s early summer garb. I think those topiaries yews are meant to be peacocks…! How lovely to have a junior gardener (none of mine are interested).

    1. Ali says:

      Yes! That would make more sense than a womble and a soap dispenser! Hope no one from Dixter reads this!!

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