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A great escape should be on everyones calendar, it does you the world of good and you come back in such a good mood!  Last summer I went away with a friend for a weekend on a whirlwind tour of houses and gardens.  We went to William Morris’s Red House in Bexley Heath, to Bateman’s, the home of Rudyard Kipling, to Knole, the ancestral seat of the Sackville Wests and to Great Dixter – home to gardener Christopher Lloyd (Christo to his friends and family).

They were all amazing for different reasons but the best for me by far was Great Dixter.  It is the most beautiful garden I have ever seen (and I have seen quite a lot!) The house is an extended Elizabethan barn that is preserved as Christo left it in 2006 when he died.  The people who gave us a tour were his friends and people he knew, they were well informed about the history and had some lovely stories to tell.  So in this week of the Chelsea Flower show I thought I’d share all the floral glory that Great Dixter had to offer.

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A very patriotic planting

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Even succulents got in on the act

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I was told by another visitor that these are Ladybird poppies, for obvious reasons.

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I love the ferns against the old brick and intricate fretwork of the window screen

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A lily pond to make an impressionist salivate

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No idea what this plant is called, but when my kids were small they christened them honey hives.

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Even the gate is a work of art

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it’s all in the detail

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His royal hotness, Lucifer.

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Stunning specimens

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acid green and limes

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The house watches over you wherever you go

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Vistas and tunnels

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Pathway planting

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Luxe lupins and rambling roses

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Brilliant plant combinations

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Part of the long border

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At the rear of the house

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A victorian watering cart

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Terracotta tiles a-plenty

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Christo’s favourite breed of dog

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Where are your favourite great escapes?   S

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