a looking at plants weekend – wisley + great dixter

October 3, 2013

fruit 1

We took the students to RHS Wisley to engage with, absorb and discuss end of summer planting as part of Advanced Planting Design module. From the fruit mound, we gazed across acres of orchard trees and marveled at the excellence of management and good house keeping that was on display. The dusters must be out at dawn to buff up the fruits on Malus ‘Bloody Ploughman’ . .

malus bloody ploughman

. .  scanning down the glasshouse borders, more commonly referred to as the Oudolf borders, the bleached heads of Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’  make striking and graphic statements at this time of year.  And at close quarters, this upright grass looks glorious with Persicaria ‘Firedance’ . . .

oudolf borders 2

oudolf borders periscaria firedance 2

calamgrostis

. . . a sweeping brush stroke of Calamagrostis brachytricha – soft + tactile – forms yet another layer in a composition of  form, habit and texture. Mass planting of echinacea, upright dark cones standing proud now, flows like a stream back into the woodland.

oudoulf borders echinacea 1

oudolf borders perovskia close up

More C. brachytricha displaying its silky plumes that contrast well with the darker thistle heads of Eryngium giganteum.  There’s a great sense of power now in the character of shrubs like Cotinus – a dramatic last burst of visual ‘fortissimo’  – while the fingers of Perovskia ‘Little Spire’, also in their last flourish, demand attention in a more ladylike and willowy manner.

border 2

hitchmough planting 2

In the perennial meadow, where the planting mix has been defined by James Hitchmough, we recognised Silphium perfoliatum, daisy heads on tall stems ranging away over lower planting in this interesting gritty landscape. We were a tad stumped however, identifying the architectural seed heads in the image above. Neither members of staff had a clue!

hitchmough planting 1

On Battleston Hill, a forest of gums caused discussion  . . .

gums1

gums 4

. .  as did carpets of much smaller things. Even without the added bonus of flowers, cyclamen is a winner with foliage that is nigh perfection.

cyclamen

The following day, a trip to Great Dixter , without the students although encouraged to visit, to see Conifer (L) and Miscanthus (R) perform in the annual Dixter Dachshund Day. They did well. Thanks Perry? or is it Adele for the facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.563475030367660.1073741834.152726031442564&type=1

conifer   miscanthus

Signs of the changing season here too . . . .

dixter 1

dixter sun flowers

. .  but the dynamic structure of this garden is never masked by the seasonal planting . . .

dixter compost

dixter structure 6

. . .  the one compliments the other.

dixter structure 2

dixter heleniums chrysanthemums

Here the fruit is integrated with the decorative planting. Some of these pear trees are very old and make a charming knarled lattice frame through which to view other areas.  And, the cotinus in the Long Border, is behaving just like its relation at Wisley as one would expect.

dixter long border

dixter exotic 1

In the Exotic Garden, there is abundant growth this year. Carefully squeezing down the narrow paths is like a voyage of discovery . . .

dixter exotic 3

dixter exotic 4

. . .  so good to see Mrs Oakley Fisher, once more, and still in flower too. It’s all about the plants, of course.

dixter exotic 5

dixter exotic 6

Out in the late amber afternoon,
Confused among chrysanthemums,
Her parasol, a pale balloon,
Like a waiting moon, in shadow swims.

Her furtive lace and misty hair
Over the garden dial distill
The sunlight,–then withdrawing, wear
Again the shadows at her will.

Gently yet suddenly, the sheen
Of stars inwraps her parasol.
She hears my step behind the green
Twilight, stiller than shadows, fall.

“Come, it is too late,–too late
To risk alone the light’s decline:
Now has the evening long to wait,”–
But her own words are night’s and mine.   Hart Crane  In Shadow

9 Responses to “a looking at plants weekend – wisley + great dixter”

  1. Tom Says:

    It really is a ‘Great’ Dixter. Officially on my bucket list. Beautiful images of an intoxicating variety of colour and texture. I didn’t understand a lot of the context I’m afraid but I hope your students are grateful.
    Might use this blog to teach my 60 odd French visual comms lot about Artisitc Description next week.

    ps – is that Petal with the red collar?!

  2. julia fogg Says:

    Conifer + Miscanthus are the dachsies here. There have always been 2 for about the last 50 years. These are relatively young, so newbies. When you come next time, we’ll visit – we passed through the village, Northiam, and had a coffee sitting on the pavement on the way to the train at Rolvenden – Kent + E Sussex Railway – on the Saturday morning.The camper van came from the iron monger.

  3. Sinclair 3168 Says:

    It does look like M has the daintiness of Petal… It all looks very special, what an orchard.

  4. Tom Says:

    re SOUTHWARK – SOUTHERN DEFENSIVE

    can’t access it…

    mon·o·lith
    /ˈmänl-iTH/
    Noun
    – A large single upright block of stone, esp. one shaped into or serving as a pillar or monument.
    – A very large and characterless building.

  5. Tom Says:

    yes I remember passing it… camper van still going strong but dearer, 2nd hand version never survived the summer dip in the channel x

  6. Seb Says:

    Truly uplifting cannot wait to visit

  7. julia fogg Says:

    you’ll like it, I hope

  8. Carolyn Says:

    Those mystery seed pods are an Asclepias…..


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: