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24/06/2008


my photos

images of great dixter ...

Remember that very friendly tabby cat I was telling you about, well she lived here, at Great Dixter in Northiam, East Sussex, the wonderful family home of the late plantsman and garden writer Christopher Lloyd. A wonderful house and garden for you, me and the cat to explore.



One of six children, Christopher Lloyd was born at Great Dixter, into a strictly run household, where no smoking or drinking was permitted. His father, Nathaniel Lloyd, came from a comfortably off middle-class family in Manchester and his mother, Daisy Field, was reputedly a descendant of Oliver Cromwell. Nathaniel had bought Great Dixter in 1910, and commissioned Edwin Lutyens to restore and add to its 15th-century buildings. Lutyens also set out the framework of the garden as an array of formal spaces, which still exist today. Nathaniel died in 1933, leaving the 450-acre estate to his formidable widow. Sharing their enthusiasm for gardening, mother and son continued to develop the gardens and encourage visitors until Daisy died in 1972. The house and garden then became the property of Christopher and his niece Olivia - The Guardian



At present Great Dixter is actually three houses, one built here in the mid 15th century, the second a yeoman's house from Benenden, across the border in Kent, built in the early 16th century and moved here in 1910, and the third combines the two with additional accommodation, completed in 1912.



Possibly more widely known for its gardens, a walk around the interior of The House must not be missed. Upstairs in The Solar we had a very interesting conversation with the guide, an elderly lady who had played alongside Christopher Lloyd and his five siblings as a child, and had lived her life being very much part of Great Dixter. She told us how Christopher Lloyd would very much enjoy talking to visitors who stumbled across him sitting in his armchair with his beloved daschunds at his feet and who by no means minded sharing his home and private time with strangers.



The Barn and Sunk Garden above was designed by Nathaniel Lloyd.




The gift shop and small picnic area where we enjoyed spending a short while sharing our pork pie and conversation with one of a few resident cats!



I don't want the place to become a museum but it always wants to be respected and every generation must play its role. The garden has changed a lot in my time and so has the house. That's fine, so long as it is appreciated as it deserves. If it always remains loved and retains its own identity, everything else will fall into place - Christopher Lloyd

More photos from Great Dixter over on my garden blog.

26 comments:

Rachael Rabbit said...

These photos are so beautiful ...

méri said...

Beautiful photos!
I had to go to Mr. Google map to see exactly where it is - quite close London!

méri said...

And today is a municipal (?)holiday here, Porto and in some other towns in the North of Portugal which has S. João (St George) as patron

Sal said...

Absolutely gorgeous photos and a 'must' place to visit when we next go that way ;-)

Niesz Vintage Home said...

What a lovely house and GORGEOUS gardens! Thanks os much for the photo tour.

Kimberly :)

Christy said...

So fascinating! That house and garden only exist in my dreams. Thank you for sharing those gorgeous pics and the story behind it.

Rosezilla said...

Breathtaking gardens! Wouldn't that be a wonderful place to laze in a hammock in some shady corner, and dream! Can't imagine the amount of work that goes in to maintaining it all, though. (Hopefully this comment will "stick" the last one didn't!)

Katherines Dream said...

What a lovely little tour of a place that I have been wanting to visit for so long...this post has made me all the more determinded to get to see it this summer..
Thank you Lousie...lovely!
Carol x

periwinkle said...

lovely pics louise
lisa x

Chelle said...

I am convinced that I could live there and be happy. I wonder how much money one would need to aquire such a lovely property?

Cowboys & Custard said...

It has been wonderful to revisit Great Dixter through your fabulous photographs Louise..
It is a magical place and my memories of it haunt me often especially when I am attempting to plant some radical colour scheme as Christopher did so well.
It is probably the most beautiful garden I have ever seen and I hope to return again one day..

Michelexxx

Jennie said...

ooh such lovely pictures!!

M.Kate said...

Louise, these are very beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing :)

Charli and me said...

What a beautiful old house! The photos were great. Oh if only my flower beds could look like that. Thank you for including some history on the estate. Lovely post.
I'm off to check out your garden blog.

Magic Cochin said...

That was beautiful to revisit Gt Dixter via your lovely photos. When we last went there we walked into the 'rose garden' to see the amazing exotic planting and emerging from the bananas and cannas was Christo and his dachshunds and an admiring cluster of beautiful young admirers (who looked as if they'd fallen out of the Boden catalogue!). Christopher Lloyd certainly had style and charm to the end of his days.

Celia

Ragged Roses said...

I remember hobbling around the village with three broken toes desperately trying to get my two daughters to come and walk around Great Dixter with me, they chose the playground instead (so near and yet so far!); We stayed in Northiam for a week and I never got a chance, so thanks for the lovely photos
Kimx

cd&m said...

How lovely to be able to visit Gt Dixter, I have some Chrisopher Lloyd gardening books, he was brilliant. Just wanted to let you know that I have now posted over at the blogger blog which is where you'll find us from now on:

http://catondarlingandmoore.blogspot.com

Hope you'll be able to visit soon.

prettyshabby said...

Great Dixter is on my 'to visit' list along with Sissinghurst and various other famous gardeners gardens..it looks gorgeous from your pictures..I must,must go there!

the homely year said...

Hi Louise,
Great Dixter looks so interesting. The gardens are gorgeous...I've always been a big fan of Christopher Lloyd and would love to see the house and gardens someday.
Margaret and Noreen

Pat said...

What a beautiful home and gardens -- just exquisite! I enjoyed learning about Christopher Lloyd.

I love to scroll down on your blogand look at that little kitty's face as he so intently stares at your pork pie! He sits so straight and compact and even a little daintily.

No, no cream for my blueberry tart -- it was enough calories as it was :-)

Gillian L. said...

This house fits my dream of a perfect home. The architecture is wonderful and the gardens are beautiful as well. I think that English homes have so much character and warmth. It would be a wonderful place for children to live and explore.

Gillian

acornmoon said...

I just love this house and garden, I have only ever seen it on TV before. Maybe one day we will get around to visiting.

funkymonkey said...

Thank you for the photographs, I've always wanted to go to Great Dixter. I'm popping over to the garden blog now to see more.

The Dutchess said...

I am going to Londen very soon,i hope to find time to visit this wonderful place,Thank you for the lovely pictures...

Warmly

tales from an O.C. cottage said...

Oh my gosh! Those pictures are almost too pretty to take in! Thx!!


M ^..^

Lesley said...

I've always wanted to go to Great Dixter and your lovely photos make me want to go even more!

What a beautiful place :0

xxxx