The Well-Tempered Garden

With the UK seasons seeming to switch daily, we were grateful for a clement couple of hours in a Sussex garden. Great Dixter is pretty much the life's work of the hugely influential horticulturist, Christopher Lloyd, whose riotous and ramshackle ethic is aptly illustrated in mixed herbaceous borders.

Sausage Dog mosaic garden path

Nothing at Dixter is planned on paper but rather intuited annually by Lloyd's successor Fergus Garrett and a team of eager gardeners (with a few languorous cats)... none of whom seemed to mind my ploughing a pram through the place. There's a bit of a doggy theme with a wonderful mosaic of two top-to-toe dachshunds in the walled garden, continuing inside with a collection of sausage dogs; from one-off sculptures to the Slinky tie-in from Toy Story. While the medieval house also holds a fair few ceramics and heap of great rugs, it was the proportions of the vegetable beds outside that truly earned my envy.


Un/fortunately, Great Dixter has an exemplary nursery too, meaning a trip may cost more dearly than entrance fee alone. Binomial Latin usually sounds a bit rude to me, but —for those of you who understand this stuff— here's my shopping list:

Cyperus vegetus
Seslaria nitida
Erigeron karvinskianus
Euphorbia stygiana
Cynara cardunculus (dwarf)
Forniculum vulgare Purpureu

Macleaya m. Kelways Coral Plume

N.B. Post title taken from Lloyd's 1970 book, itself a skit on J.S.Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, the preludes and fugues that eccentric pianist, Glenn Gould, so famously interpreted. Even if you hate Baroque music, it's always good to watch him in action... I swear he thought in algebra and algorithms!

No comments: