Very occasionally it happens that a place much treasured as an idea lives up to all its promise and imagined lustre.
Great Dixter house and garden performs that miracle for me on every visit.
It is all I want from an English house and garden. Ideas that began with the imaginary worlds I spent time in as a child, formed first in the minds of Beatrix Potter, Frances Hodgson-Burnett and Noel Streatfield, KM Peyton and Edith Nesbitt.
The wonderful Lutyens architecture ~ those oak drainpipes lined with lead! the myriad outbuildings ~ wobbly roofed and groaning with the patina and stories of past inhabitants. The garden ~ rooms and meadows~ fruit trees left to their own designs, curtsy holding out their skirts so laden with berries and fruit. Borders bursting with colour and confidence, there are wonderful patterns everywhere you turn. And yet, it feels "real" and grounded not primped and preened. I cite the enormous compost heap, as tall as a Hardy hay rick and sliced through to reveal the section, layers and layers of good dark crumbly matter, with a long ladder leaning against it, wonderful to see.
Yes! I am a fan and admirer of the late great Christopher Lloyd and his former assistant, now Head Gardener, Fergus Garrett. This past weekend at Great Dixter saw the Autumn Plant Fair roll in to the meadow below the nursery. Growers and nurserymen from all over Europe along with some closer to home displaying their specimens on simple stands constructed from wood and hessian with corrugated roofs. So, on a fuzzy, drowsy, misty October Saturday we arrived...
The boot was a cascade of petals and leaves, supported by sacks of spring bulbs as ballast as I bounced down the track ~Laneward bound...