Good Morning SOS’ers! Another Saturday and another garden in the UK! Nathanial Lloyd, made his fortune when he founded his own color printing firm in 1893. By 1909, he was so successful, that he was able to retire and devoted himself to golf and his passion for shooting….. He and his wife, Daisy, began to look for an old house to buy and they purchased Dixter, in 1910, (a manor completed by the end of the Middle Ages ) and all the grounds and farm buildings for six thousand pounds. The manor was re-named Great Dixter…….Walking around the grounds we could now call it Jurassic Park Dixter……All 19 of the gardens are spilling over and then some……There was nothing here, but a few mixed orchards and a scattering of trees when the Lloyd’s arrived. That is not the case anymore!
Of all my photos, this one is my favorite!
As you can see from the Featured Photo, the Manor House is still here. Lloyd hired architect, Edwin Lutyens, to complete the manor home. Lutyens wanted to adapt the existing building by using local materials. He brought in a yeoman’s home from Benenden, 15 miles away, and added it piece by piece to the mid-15th century, original home. In 1912, he added another house to the other side. As you can see from the little photo I snuck in, I don’t know if I would have had the vision that Lutyens did! The manor then consisted of three houses connected together. Now, it LEANS way to the right as you look at it…..For that reason, only some parts of the house are open to the public.
Lutyens admired the work of Gertrude Jekyll, who was known for her “hardy flower borders” and radiant color schemes, that complimented the manor house, which was a new approach to the English Garden. The ideas of Jekyll led to the garden designs at Great Dixter. Lutyens went on to become the greatest British architect of the twentieth century and Jekyll designed over 400 gardens and was known for her prolific writing. Her most famous book was Colour in the Flower Garden.
Here is a look at one of the gardens from an upper window……..One, of things I found baffling was the meadow-look, where I thought a formal garden should be. Here are the fancy topiaries and structured hedges filled in wildflowers and grasses……rather than a formal lawn.
The gardens are separated by curved yew hedges, low brick walls and many, many paths. The borders are mixed and in all colors. There is no segregating plants of different habits, so you find shrubs, climbers. hardy and tender perennials, annuals and biennials all growing together……just as Gertrude Jekyll would have wanted……
Some of the paving is York Sandstone. Other walkways are made from London pavements that were ripped up and re-placed with tarmac…. the stone became available for garden use. Lichen grows on it, making their own patterns, particularly noticeable at their flowering in April. Beware, this stone is very slippery when wet…….Everything is saved here and re-used somewhere in the garden….. In this photo you can see more of the connected houses too!
There are massive plantings everywhere!
This week, I asked what this huge leafed plant was……. it’s gunnera…..it is noted for it’s extreme leaf size! I’ll say! It definitely stands out here!
I hope you have enjoyed these photos from Great Dixter today!
The instructions for SOS are easy. The photos can be flowers, vegetables, a garden design, whatever, as long as it’s garden related and posted on Saturday! So, its six photos. Of Gardens. On Saturday. Easy Peasy. To see all the SOS’s look at SIX ON SATURDAY, hosted by the Propagator, to check out all of them each Saturday! See you next week!