Jam making 

Today I got up early 4:45am to make jam. I made it from fresh damsons that I picked from our damson tree today. I managed to make 12 pots of jam.

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Tropical plants from a garden tour in Barbados 

At Great Dixter they have a area of the garden called the exotic garden. I was inspired by this area and decided to try and grow some exotic plants at home consisting of some succulents and a canna. So when I had a opitunity while on holliday to have a tour around a exotic garden I could not resist. ( Picture below is part of the exotic garden st Great Dixter) 


Yesterday I went on a tour of a 14 acre garden near the hotel. On the tour I came across lots of tropical plants and trees that grow well in this hot climate. One of the plants the Gide was talking about he snapped off a leaf and it already had roots etc as if it was a developed cutting. So amazing. 

For example the picture below is of a flower bed. The plants in it were taken as cuttings just 3 months ago and are now plants in the soil thst look like they have been established for years. 


One of the first trees I came across was the Traveller’s Palm. This stores water in its trunk to use later in the year when it is scarce. You cal relive the water by pulling on the trunk. 


The flower below comes from a plant called the pride of Barbados. It was put into the country’s currency to prevent countifits being produced. 


Below is a plant called papyrus it was once used to make paper back in ancient times. However, now it just grows by the water and looks pretty. ( the plant I am referring to is the one growing on the bank of the pond on the left and side).


The tree below is called the Flamboyant tree. It has bright red flowers hence why some people call it the flame tree.


The plant below is called the firecracker cactus. This is becuse the small things on the end of the leaves can crest a cracking sound.


The final plant is alo Vera It grows by the roadside and is apparently good for your skin. However, it will stain fabrics very badly and there is no way of getting the stain out.

Tomorrow 

Off early tomorrow to Barbados where I hopefully will see lots of tropical plants and I may pay a visit to some gardens there.

At Dixter they have a area called the exotic garden that does contain some tropical plants such as bannsna trees. This area used to be the rose garden but was changed into a exotic garden. Pictures of this room in the garden are below. 


This room in the Dixter garden is particularly amazing as when you stand in it you feel like u are on another continent and not in the middle of East Sussex. It is one of my favourite areas in the garden at Dixter. 

Plant shopping at Great Dixter 

As we were cutting the meddow I noticed that lots of it was just grass so not many seed heads to place back on top of the ground so I drove down to Great Dixter to ask if I could have some more excess meddow cuttings. While I was there I got tempted by some fantastic plants in the nursery.


Agapanthus Navy Blue. I bought this because it is a nice plant and I love agapanthus. 


Geranium Rozanne this is to replace the Johnsons blue we have in the lime walk. As Rozanne is more clumpy and does not spread every where like Johnsons blue.


I also got these red salvias. As you might know from reading my previous posts I love salvias. However, in the garden they are mainly purple so having these red ones realy adds verity and colour in the garden. 

Note: I do not know whst type of red salvia it is so if anyone knows I would appreciate if they let me know?


Ensete ventricosum Maurelii this will grow to over one meter adding lots of hight to the garden.


Canna indica Russia Red this will also grow to over one meter adding lots of hight to the garden. 

The last two are not plants my family would useually buy but I bought them anyway in order to challenge their choice of plants in the garden. 

Today in the garden 

As many people know I don’t reaky stop. This is certainly the case today as today I’m cutting our meddow. Having basically spent a week doing this at Dixter most people would think it is slightly bizzar I want to do it all again. However, it’s a job that needs to be done before I go away on Monday so I better get on with it. 

Dixter were very kind yesterday and alowed me to take some cuttings from their meddow to sprinkle at home. This will enhance our meddow and hopefully make it better next year. 


A week at Great Dixter



Last week I looked on my calendar and discovered that the time between 7th – 11th August was free. Now people who know me will know I don’t really like being free. So I send a email to Great Dixter and before long I had organised to be a volunteer gardener for that week. 

I have done this before last summer between 15th and 19th August. At this time was my first time at a garden working and it was very enjoyable. The culture and atmosphere at Dixter is so amazing it makes it a enjoyable place to work. When I was their between 15th and 19th I had one day in the vegetable patch, 1/4 of a day in the barn, one day in the nursery and the rest of the time helping cut the meddows. If you have ever visited Dixter you will know there are rather a lot if these. 

I have also reterned to help out at both of the plant fairs. 

Anyway this time I arrived and found Fergus Garrett (the head gardener) in the nursery. He seemed very nice and told me to have a look round the garden for 15 minutes before starting to do some gardening. As I wondered round the garden the colours were amazing and so vibrant in every room. Time seemed to fly by so I had not even been to every room in the garden when my 15 minutes was up and I went to the ticket office and then was told to weed the kitchen drive with a hoe. I did this untill lunch. After lunch I went and helped rake and bag for the meddow cutting.

At Dixter they cut their meddows with a electric scythe. The cuttings are tyen racked up into lines or piles and then pitchforked into big bags that are then loaded into a tractor for transporting to the square compost heaps. 



After the ground is clear of cut meddow grass the lawn tractor and strummer go over it and the excess raked up and put into bags. The hedges by the meddows are also weeded under so the whole area looks smart.


Picture above: How the Upper Moat looked when it was Finnished. 

On my first day the area thst was tackled was the front of the house by the ticket office and down to the house. 

On my second day the area that was tackled was the Upper Moat. 

On my third day we tackled the area between the Exotic garden and the Lower Moat.

On day four it was decided that a group of us were to stop doing meddows and instead sort out and pot on a selection of the gardens plants that were waiting to go in. 


Picture above: Begonia fuchsioides pink. This was a new plant to me and having looked it up and seen one in the exotic garden I have decided to see if we can put it somewhere at home perhaps at the front?


While I was potting on / transporting plants one of the nursery staff cane along with sone plants that were being thrown out and asked if anyone wanted one for free. So I picked up a Linaria purpurea ‘Canon Went’. I did not know exactly what it was but I googled it when I got home and it looked very nice.

On my final day we Finnished off the meddow cttting from my third day. 

Fergus then gave me a book Christopher Lloyd ( the creator of the Dixter garden) has written on meddows to say thank you for all I had done this week. The book will definitely prove to be very useful when cutting and expanding our meddow at home. The book has now been added to my horticultural library aka a book shelf in my room. The library currently consists of four books they are, Great Dixter Guide book, Kent gardens from the air, Meddows and a brush with brown. It is a gradually increcing collection of books that grows slowkey year on year. 

I plan to retern to Dixter later in the year to do some more volunteering as it is such a amazing placed full of nice and passionate making it a wonderful place to work and learn more about plants. 

Many thanks to everyone at Dixter for having me and making this week so enjoyable. You are always welcome to come and look round the garden here providing that you let me know before hand that you are coming! 

Today in the garden

Today I planted in 12 Salvia Lavender Dilly Dilly into the raised lawn bed. Picture included below:

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We also did lots of cutting back by the conservetory and have grown the bonfire quite considerably.

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Sorry for not being on these last nine days as I’ve been off sailing in the Baltic but hopefully will be more active in the coming weeks.