Waking up to an overcast morning with a little bit of drizzle was certainly not going to keep me from Great Dixter, one of the gardens that was "on my radar" from the beginning of the planning stages of the trip. After one of Gilly's "full English" breakfast feasts, we were off to the country, Garmin Chick in hand to guide us through all of the little country roads.
We arrived about 20 minutes before the property opened, and we were the only ones there in the hayfield/parking area. Anyone who knows me knows that this is my favorite thing! How wonderful to be able to stroll across the lawn at the rambling home with nobody there except Frank and me.
The sheep right next to the parking area definitely reinforced the feeling that we were miles from other homes, though in fact Dixter is on the edge of a fairly congested village.
One of the favorite things for me is the personal connection one feels for the gardener in places like this. Many of the grand gardens are what we would call "checkbook gardens" today; Great Dixter, on the other hand, feels very personal. I was midway through a book about Christopher Lloyd when we visited, so I was clear that he was "eccentric" to say the least. Walking past the still-used wheelbarrows and seeing someone going into the house with Mr. Lloyd's dachsunds was a great treat for me.
This is a garden that is definitely all about the plants. The original structure is beautiful, but at this time of year, much of it is completely overwhelmed by the exuberant plantings. One of my favorite photos is this corner of the steps designed by Lutyens, softened and aged with the beautiful little flowers and lichens. I saw this flower everywhere in England, but don't know it's name. Can any of the English readers help with that? I'm assuming it's a self-seeding perennial, but I may be wrong about that.
This last photo gives just a glimpse of the incredible plantings that fill this property. This is one tiny corner of the sunk garden. The visitor feels almost like an explorer here, having to brush aside giant leaves and blooms to make it down the paths at the end of summer.
It was a grand way to start the day!