Fergus Garrett, Head Gardener of the famous Great Dixter garden in Sussex, delighted the Society and a wider audience at the Victoria Halls on the evening of Wednesday 19th April.
He took us on a magical journey showing us why Great Dixter is renowned for its tradition of sophisticated and cutting-edge plantsmanship. He thrilled us with his knowledge of how to extend the seasonal colour in the borders of Great Dixter by experimenting with successional plantings of perennials, shrubs and tender exotics to hugely impressive effect.
His presentation gave us a real treat by showing how multi layering and bold plant combinations can combine to create dazzling plant pictures throughout an extended season of about eight months of colour. There was inspiration to be had from these plant designs for everyone. From Kniphofias to Eupatorium, Agastaches with Echiinaceas the audience were entranced by the expressiveness of such audacious plant schemes.
Fergus lived up to his reputation of being a celebrity in his own right even though he has followed in the haloed shoes of the iconoclastic garden writer and late owner of Great Dixter, Christopher Lloyd. Despite rising to the heights of being one of the best known gardeners in the UK, Fergus was charmingly down to earth and available to answer all our questions which included queries about the number of gardeners employed to how they manage to control weeds in such complex plantings.
Fergus described his ideal plant associations as ‘happy plants’ and that is certainly the way he left his audience on that memorable evening of horticultural wizardry.