Inspiration, Great Dixter and fab plants



In my one before last  post I moaned about this time of year and not getting a gardening fix and how I was feeling depressed.  Well I have taken quite a leap forward from that position thanks to Fergus Garrett, of Great Dixter fame. 

On Monday of this week I went, with some other gardening friends, to a local horticultural society where Fergus was going to be speaking.  I hadn’t realised that it was their AGM so we had to sit through a review of their finances and justification of buying new tables etc, election of officers and information about their programme for next year (Bob Brown & Ursula Buchan were mentioned so may be going back!).  All abit tideous but amusing when its not your club!

However, the evening improved once Fergus took over.  He speaks so well conveying his passion and enthusiasm for the planting style that has been developed at Great Dixter.  His talk started with a bit of history on Great Dixter and some wonderful black and white photos of the house when it was first bought and how it was developed.  We then moved onto the actual planting looking how different communities of plants worked together in different locations and more importantly, and what I was waiting for, how to use different plants together to create successional planting but also structural interest. 

Whilst I have quite a few of Christopher Lloyd’s books listening to Fergus talk about the subject with photos to demonstrate what he meant, and there were alot of photos, was truely inspirational.  I came home with lots of ideas buzzing around in my head so much so that unusually for me I had to sit down and write them out before they were forgotten.  To give you some hints  there was a magical sweep of Ammi majus which I have grown in the past but not planted in such a big clump; a lovely little area where snowdrops were planted under ferns so the snowdrops flowered first and then the ferns grew up and disquised the dying foilage of the snowdrops; fantastic use of pots in displays which are refreshed every 2 weeks; and a lovely combination of planting growing out of a dry stone wall.  All of these I can immediately see that I can incorporate, albeit on a very small scale, into my garden.  But more importantly it was the attitude to how plants could be used and how to look to see what would work with what that really triggered something in my brain, quite an achievement given how slow it has been recently. 

So I am feeling very inspired and positive.  So this Sunday, the first opportunity I will have had, I will be looking round the garden to see how I can put some of the lessons I learnt into practice, even if it means staring out of the window through the rain.   If you get a chance to hear Fergus talk I would really recommend it.

The photo is of Dahlia Blaisdon Red taken at The Tynings, Stoulton, Worcestershire – an NGS garden

8 Comments on “Inspiration, Great Dixter and fab plants

  1. Oh, I just clicked to leave a comment, when I realised it stopped the snow falling on the screen. Weird! A bit like time standing still…

    V. jealous of your inspiring talk. I could do with a dose of Fergus here.

  2. I love it when you hear someone talk passionately about plants etc. I feel I learn alot more than just reading,like you , I become inspired and excited . It sticks in my woolly head better too.

  3. Is it not wonderful how our spirits can be lifted by a gifted speaker and great gardener. A person with a vision can inspire us and Fergus would be one for sure. How lucky to hear and see his talk and slide show. Good luck with the plans and ideas you have come away with. I too have to write things down quickly else I forget! Thanks so for sharing your venture. Happy Holidays to you! Carol

  4. What an absolute treat that would have been! Seems that Fergus is the residual tie between Christo and the fabulous gardens of Dixter. I only wish he would visit Canada sometime soon. I trust that your head will be filled with plenty more than visions of sugarplums….. more like Galanhtus, Ammi majus and other wonderful horticultural confectionary. I look forward to seeing their appearances in your garden next season!

  5. You luck,lucky duck ! Your enthusiasm comes shining through this post. Will have some spare snowdrops next year if you would like some.

  6. So glad that Fergus inspired you! And here’s my chance to wish you Happy Christmas.
    Great blog and look forward to all your postings in 2010.

  7. Thanks for sharing some ideas! Snowdrops and ferns – I should remember that! Successional planting happens only by accident in my gardens… Have a Happy Holiday Season!

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