Picture Great Dixter 1954 to 2006


Imagine helping to frame up over 70 photographs of the wonderful plants and vistas at Great Dixter House and Gardens in Northiam, taken by the owner and gardener Christopher Lloyd from 1954 to 2006, to see them in all their glory on the walls of the Great Barn, in this special exhibition from the Great Dixter archives. Christopher gardened at Great Dixter for over 50 years and during that time, he recorded his work on colour slides for his books, articles and lectures.

This historic exhibition, which marks the 10th anniversary of his death in 2006, shows prints taken from these slides, for the first time. Over the last year volunteers, curators, conservators and specialist photographers have been cataloguing, conserving and digitising the slides to create a visual archive of Christopher Lloyd’s work at Great Dixter. The images are of very good quality, clear and bright in spite of the age of some of the original slides.

Gardens merging into meadows
Gardens merging into meadows

The pictures start in the 1950s when Christopher returned to Dixter from teaching at Wye College to earn a living from his own garden. Through the 1960s and 1970s, he subtly changed his mother Daisy’s choice of plants and developed the exuberant and rich style of gardening for which he is known today. He also created the Great Dixter nursery, making it amongst other things a centre for clematis, which also appear in these images.

The exhibition ends with the golden period of the 1990s until 2006 when Christopher gardened with Fergus Garrett, turning the Rose Garden into an exotic jungle, developing a wild flower meadow on the Topiary Lawn and installing a pebble mosaic of his beloved dachshunds in the Walled Garden, now the perfect foil for one of Dixter’s biggest and most extravagant pot displays.

This is an unrivalled opportunity to see how Great Dixter developed through Christopher’s work into the distinctive garden it is today. It should definitely not be missed by all garden lovers, as well as those who have known Great Dixter gardens over the years.

The exhibition is on display in the Great Barn and has been supported by The Mercers Company, a private US donor and Gardenscape. It is open from August 6 to October 30, daily except Mondays, 11am to 5pm.

Admission with ticket to the garden costs adults  £9.35 (£8.50) and children £1.10 (£1.00) – figures in brackets costs without gift aid.

Photos: Great Dixter Charitable Trust

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