Great Dixter - gardeners day out

Every year the Gardeners enjoy a treat- a day out visiting a garden with the owner of Toddington Manor, Lady Bowman-Shaw. This year we all agreed that Great Dixter, home to Christopher Lloyd who passed away earlier this year was to be the one.

It was a girls only day out for Barbara, Debi Rachael, Lady Bowman-Shaw and myself, as Tony was waiting for his new baby to be born imminently! Just as we arrived the heavens opened and we had to wait for the rain to pass, sheltering under the precarious old entrance porch.

We then thoroughly enjoyed looking around the garden, trying to identify plants we were unsure of, and appreciating many of the sucessful plant partnerships that Great Dixter is so well known for.
Many of the combinations rely on annuals, bulbs and half-hardy perennials being planted out throughout the year, so although it looked fresh and colourful, we all agreed it looked like continual hard work!

The main parts of the garden were in the main quite traditional, although with flamboyant use of colour, while at the front of the house, the exotic garden and the cactus juxtaposed against the 15th century manor house caused many comments as it was so much fun. Many of the plants were tender, so were unfamilar to the gardeners growing outside, but everything looked healthy and well cared for, obviously loving the hot summer we have had this year.

We always have a notepad to write down ideas for Toddington Manor, and we are definately planting more crocosmias for next year, Crocosmia 'Citronella' caught our attention, and Atriplex hortensis var. Rubra looks like an annual well worth planting, and an unusual elder, Sambucus formosana with fantastic orange berries.