If you only have time to visit a few gardens in England, make sure that Great Dixter is at the top of your list. I have been here several times but every time I visit, there’s always something new and wonderful to enjoy – and it doesn’t matter what time of year you go.
Great Dixter seems to be a long drive from most places but every mile added to your journey is worth it – the house and gardens are in Northiam, about half a mile off the A28. It’s also near the town of Rye, one of the cinque ports and well-worth exploring.
The gardens lie around the house and include the Front Meadow, the Barn Garden:
the Sunk Garden, the Wall Garden, the Solar Garden, the Blue Garden, the Exotic Garden:
Rather than trying to describe the layout of the garden, I will leave it to Christopher Lloyd to explain: ‘Most of the garden design was by Lutyens; it always seems fluid, never stodgy. Thus, yew hedges are sometimes curved, making a change from straight lines.’
Built around a fifteenth century manor house, Nathaniel Lloyd commissioned Sir Edwin Lutyens to enlarge the house in 1909. Lloyd’s son Christopher, gardener and garden writer, who was brought up here, first started gardening with his mother. The garden is full of originality and challenges traditional ideas of colour and form. It is now under the stewardship of Fergus Garrett and the Great Dixter Charitable Trust.
There’s a cafe on site as well as a nursery – they also run a mail order delivery.