Great Dixter, England

“It feels like walking into a Dr. Seuss book.” A friend pretty much summed up Great Dixter in those few words. Parts of the centuries-old home were listing in different directions, the flowers were dancing among each other, succulents and container plants were artfully, yet playfully, arranged and topiaries rose out of a meadow. Classic design features and familiar plants were not as expected. Great Dixter combines amazing plants and horticulture with whimsy – letting Nature laugh (which always makes a lady more beautiful.) 


I thought the most impressive features of Great Dixter were the many containers and succulents in the landscape and the meadows. Here are a few images from my visit.  More can be seen on my Pinterest garden visits boards.








I’m back!

To say it’s been an eventful year is an understatement. Some joys, lots of travel and changes. I’m afraid my garden and my blog are both suffering from neglect, but I woke up Saturday morning and calculated – in the next 10 days I have half of those as ‘weekend’ days and no major events. Now is the time to catch up, but not to beat myself up. So here it is. Sunday morning, and I am sitting on the deck. Cackling, happy hens are free ranging in the backyard and vineyard on a lawn that is about 80% reclaimed after John Deere and I chugged through knee-high grass. It is so relaxing to take a mowing break by pulling up the riding mower beside a muscadine vine and grazing on sun-warmed grapes.

One thing I did notice while mowing is how many types of wildlife thrive in grasses. I move so slow on the mower that snakes and bunnies and such can escape unharmed from the mower, but butterflies and all sorts of flying and jumping insects were enjoying the seedheads. The tall grass was alive with fauna, which made me feel a little guilty for cutting it, so I think I will leave the meadow intact and just cut a pathway through (it gets mowed about 3 times a year). I’m not sure if these are native grasses, but this area was never sodded or planted after most of this property was timbered a few years before we bought the land. We have worked to keep some areas meadow and some wooded. The backyard is a ‘country lawn’, a mix of grasses and clover that looks great the day after it is mowed.

So, my time in the garden, plus few meetings this week discussing native plants reminded me of a column that I’d like to add to this blog, one that gives reasons for native plants in the garden. One of the main reasons is that the native birds, butterflies, and mammals depend on natives for their diet and habitat.

The butterflies are waking up – gotta deadhead the butterfly bush beside me soon.