A fitting ending, in my mind, to the Best of English Gardens Tour was a visit to Great Dixter, the garden of the late Christopher Lloyd, now overseen by his Head Gardener, Fergus Garrett. Great Dixter was my personal favorite. It has inspired me in my own private garden and most notably at the Boccelli Garden, a mixed border modeled after succession planting style of the Long Border at Great Dixter.
Last year, simple English cow’s parsley thread itself through the borders. This year the red poppy, Papaver commutatum 'Ladybird' seemed to be a unifying element throughout the gardens in late May.
The entrance to the garden is a meadow rather than the compulsory perfect lawn. It often surprises, and sometimes startles, visitors who often object to its apparent untidiness. By the end of the tour, most visitors have gotten over this unusual, but ecologically forward-thinking, approach to the front lawn.
The combination of potted plants aound the Porch are changing constantly just like the plants in the garden.
The pink flowers of Geranium manderense were the crown jewel of the planting this year. Geranium manderense is monocarpic; the plant dies after it finishes flowering.
Potted plants are also displayed in the Wall Garden.
The vertical spires of this red lupine echoed the 'Ladybird' poppies nicely here.
The combinations in the Barn garden were fresh and exciting.
Again, the 'Ladybird' poppy, this time with and Gladilus byzantinus; a clashing combination which is classic Christopher lloyd.
The Peacock Topiary Garden seemed fuller than I remembered it in previous years.
Hidcote, Sissinghurt and Great Dixter all rely on hedges and walls as a backdrop to the borders. I know that I prefer strong bones, or structure, in a garden. The contrast of architecture (green, stone or brick) and fluffy and frothy plantings have endless permutations that are pleasing to me. But its Great Dixter's exuberance and constant creativity; sometimes following convention, often defying rules, that gives me the courage to constantly keep growing, experimenting and learning. What more can I want from a garden?