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.
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!