Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dixter Diary - Day 16

Today was another exceptional one in terms of weather with sunshine and a cool breeze.  The daytime temperatures are around 62 degrees F although it is quite a bit cooler in the shade.  I love this image above of the long border in the distance framed by this old mulberry (Morus sp.).  I enjoyed my morning walk and photography and continue to run in to Carol who also helps at Great Dixter and is no stranger to photography there!  She's given me some excellent suggestions for shots and I'm sure has captured the essence of the place with her superb photography.  "Thank goodness for kneeling pads" is my comment for the day as there was lots of path weeding and additional weeding to tidy up before the big Plant Fair this weekend.  The gardens continue to be entrancing and the people (staff and volunteers) here at Great Dixter are certainly gracious with their guidance, support and friendship.

 some roses still continue and I've seen some climbers over 20' tall!
 asters are really starting to contribute color

 the dragonfly above paused long enough for this shot
 here is a segment of the brick "wheelbarrow path" that we worked on (Thies and Susan below) - love that scraping tool by the way!

 The nursery is very well run and I snapped the photo above and two below in the primary building for sales.  I like the biodegradable bags too and their nursery signage is excellent

Ben (Head of Maintenance) showed us their Biomass Boiler system which was installed three years ago.  In lieu of sounding ignorant trying to describe exactly how this works, I encourage anyone interested to view to understand this energy-efficient process and the very interesting history regarding the installation of this substantial system. The circular device above and below with the "arms" is rotating and feeding locally sourced woodchips in to this system.  Pretty "Eco-Cool" (and warm)!

 awesome foliage dominates in the Exotic Garden
afternoon light through a yucca (Yucca filamentosa)..probably the variety 'Color Guard'
 'Queen Red Lime' zinnia (Zinnia elegans) - awesome variety (annual)
 same dahlia (Dahlia sp.) above and below...amazing how impactful they can be from bud to bloom!
Dahlia 'Oakwood Fire'
 awesome fall color on the containerized Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium' in front
 beneficial backlighting on 'Lemon Queen' perennial sunflower (Helianthus hybrida) - perennial
the plumes of variegated pampas grass (Cortaderia sp.) are a focal point right now!
Bidens aurea 'Hannay's Lemon Drop' was standing about 7' tall!  Center petal tip notches are interesting too. Awesome!
 the Oast House "vents" are always architecturally engaging!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dixter Diary - Day 15

Today was another excellent one for both weather and involvement out in the gardens.  I can't stop photographing this Sunk Garden above as it has become my favorite (particularly in the morning).  I've been religious about going out an hour before work to take photos and also will meander through for an hour after work.  I'm catching the best lighting for sure.  I continue to become more comfortable here and the staff is excellent in terms of answering questions and training.  They are a fun group and all have a strong affection for this special place.  Great Dixter is hosting a big Plant Fair this weekend which should be interesting as some of the nursery folks are coming from other countries too!

 I'm not sure if above is a snail (like below) or slug but they both were slow moving targets for the camera!

 St. John's Wort (Hypericum sp.)
 there are many roses (Rosa) including some very tall "climbers" like 'Mc Cartney' seen here
 dahlias above ('Karma Choc') and below 'Mary Keen'

 seed heads are frequently left out in the gardens for architectural interest (and perhaps collecting)
 we worked on tidying up this wheelbarrow path which was overgrown with turf
Siew Lee (center) and I worked on re-arranging many of the pots in this vast display (Wall Garden)
 I worked with Kate (below left) and Emagin on making more soil for the nursery which follows a specific formula and approach

 just like baking a cake
 Above is Thies on top of a growing pile of compost (reached by a ladder on the side!)
I was collecting debris under this massive English oak (Quercus robur) today
 unknown geranium above and fern below

 red marigolds (Tagetes) with 'Monch' asters
 love both the flowers and seed heads of this Clematis (tangutica type)
 perennial aster (Aster 'Marina Wolkonsky')
unknown dahlia (Dahlia sp.)
Great Dixter home in the late afternoon

Monday, September 28, 2015

Dixter Diary - Day 14

Today was another one with excellent weather although the temperatures are getting a bit chillier as we get closer to October.  This morning was another excellent time to take photos as the the dew puts on a "fresh patina" to the morning landscape.  I continue to photograph both the Barn Garden and Sunk Garden (represented below) and noted the photographer on the roof (third photo down) who I had heard EARLY this morning up there.  I imagine the view is spectacular.

 the setting for the big Plant Fair this weekend is ready to go!
 no shortage of excellent, late-season combinations out there!
 toadlily (Tricyrtis formosana) looking nice and asters below

 the inflorescences of perennial fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) above are magical with morning dew

After morning clean-up in multiple garden areas, I helped make some new potting soil and worked with Susan and Michael on potting up various perennials. In essence, we were "bumping them up" from a 3" container to a 5" container.  I later was shown how to propagate three different types of plants by Siew Lee and Kathleen.  I had a blast doing this and ended up replanting about 250 cuttings after Siew Lee and I processed what Kathleen had collected.  The ladies were both patient instructors as I haven't done this in many years!  Part of the set-up in the potting shed can be seen above and some of the work seen below...

 above and below I'm working with Artemisia 'Powis Castle'

 Kathleen above and Siew Lee below

we did about 100 of these Cotoneaster horizontalis (above) which will eventually look like the specimen below...(seen at Fairlight Hall two weekends ago....and plenty at Great Dixter) - the 25 or so cuttings above will be re-potted later for nursery sales

The afternoon walk was nice with dahlias over 8' tall! (seen above) and lots of excellent lighting!

 light coming through the walls of the hovel near the Exotic Garden (seen below)

 perennial geranium
 nasturtium (Tropaeolum sp.) leaf coming up through spirea
 awesome ornamental grasses above and cool pear (Pyrus) shadow below...