Aug 3, 2008

Scratched up at Dixter

Behind the house at Great Dixter there are the circular steps that were designed by Edwin Lutyens. These steps used to be just made of stone and turf, but one day Christopher Lloyd and Fergus decided to remove the turf from some of the levels and turn them into planting beds. These are now used for bedding plants in spring and then once it's warm the cacti and succulents get planted out in their place.
These are the steps planted with Papaver commutatum 'Ladybird'.
They were soon ripped out to reveal a fresh new canvas waiting to be planted up. Mark and I were excited when we found out from Fergus that we would be planting the steps up and getting to choose some of the layout.
Fergus laying out some of the key pieces..
After a few scratches one begins to wonder how lucky they really are, as there is alot to be desired when handling things with spines. Newspaper, layered thickly, gives some help and relief but imagine how many times when planting them, out of their pots, do you keep scratching into them.
One of the finished sides, all done, only having lost a pint of blood.
Opuntias, Agaves, Sempervivems, Aloes, Echeverias and all their friends.

I saved a few of the lovely poppies, a favorite genus of mine, and brought them inside.

Which then made it into my sketchbook....
Papaver commutatum 'Ladybird'.
It's worth growing..


  1. Jimmy the poppy is your uncle favorite flower and you recreated them wonderfully you have such a great talent.....Aunt Helen

  2. Hi, Jimmy,
    The cacti and succulents look great depsite the blood letting! tom should appreciate it a lot! Today is Kathryn's birthday so I guess they are celebrating.

  3. Thanks for the fantastic behind-the-scenes pictures. I have a question: In what form does Great Dixter keep its plant records? Do you have a database like BG-Base, or did Christo keep paper records? I don't recall it from Christo's or Furgus's writing...

    Alan H in South Carolina

  4. Alan,

    The plants in the garden have been recorded on paper at some point or another either by Fergus and/or Christopher Lloyd. Fergus has an incredible memory too and just remembers them all by name. Thanks! Jimmy