Sunday, 13 October 2013

Great Dixter Plant Fair

It's beginning to feel more autumnal here, as the days get shorter, the leaves begin to change color and fall to the ground, and the temperature starts to cool down. Thankfully, we had a window of great weather last weekend for our 4th annual Plant Fair. We spent so much time preparing for this season-ending shindig, and our hard work paid off--it was the best Plant Fair yet! 

Shoppers peruse the different stalls 

The Great Dixter Plant Fair plays host to some of the top nurseries from around Europe and the UK. The nursery representatives began arriving and setting up their stalls on Friday, for the fair which ran on Saturday and Sunday. It was fun to meet and talk to everyone over the weekend. I especially enjoyed the group dinners, put on by our staff, where we were able to get to know some of the nursery men and women in a more informal setting. It really was a special weekend. 

Great people and great plants--What could be better?! 

The whole weekend was like a big family reunion. Not only does most of the staff participate in some capacity, several former staff members and "friends of Dixter" return to volunteer. Also, the gardeners who live at Dixter offer up their rooms to the nursery folks for the weekend, and "camp out" together in the one of the large common rooms in the house. 

I was assigned to car parking duty for the weekend, but we worked in shifts, so I was still able to see the fair. Although I didn't anticipate car park management as part of my training at Dixter, it was a key component of the weekend operation, and it was fun in its own right. Actually, I did get a laugh when one woman, finding out I was from America, exclaimed: "How did you end up at Great Dixter, parking cars?" It's true, you really do a bit of everything around here, when it's all said and done! 

Beautiful weather for plants and picnics! 

Although the festival itself only lasts 2 days, the Plant Fair requires much more time, energy, and thought than most people know--It really is a group effort! In the end, I think everyone would agree that it's worth it. Thanks to all the people who helped organize and put it on. Thanks to the nurseries that came and provided great plant material and horticultural knowledge. And thanks to all of you that attended and made it the best fair yet! 

One of my favorite scenes from the weekend

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