Planting in the garden in Christopher Lloyd’s words.
Dixter’s is a high maintenance garden; I make no bones about that. It is effort that brings reward. There are many borders and much work goes into them. Labour saving ground cover is not for me. If you see ground cover, it’s there because, first and foremost, I like it. If it does also save labour, that is an incidental benefit.
The borders are mixed, not herbaceous. I see no point in segregating plants of differing habit or habits. They can all help one another. So you’ll see shrubs, climbers, hardy and tender perennials, annuals and biennials, all growing together and contributing to the overall tapestry.
I have no segregated colour schemes. In fact, I take it as a challenge to combine every sort of colour effectively. I have a constant awareness of colour and of what I am doing, but if I think a yellow candelabrum of mullein will look good rising from the middle of a quilt of pink phlox, I’ll put it there – or let it put itself there. Many plants in this garden are self-sown and they often provide me with excellent ideas. But I do also have some of my own!
Fergus Garrett and I work hand in glove and he is as fertile in making suggestions for change and improvement as I am; so there is a continuing and productive exchange. Fergus is exceptionally energetic and inspiring, so a great deal gets done. Garden staff varies from five in winter to six in summer. This includes nursery work. They are a wonderfully supportive team. It would be impossible to exaggerate what a difference that makes, in so many ways.