Unusual plants for sale at Great Dixter Plant Fairs, Northiam, Rye

98 Reviews

Star Travel Rating

4/5

Review type

Things to do

Date of travel

October, 2022

Product name

Great Dixter Plant Fairs, Northiam

Product country

UK

Product city

Near Rye

Travelled with

Couple

Reasons for trip

Other

Great Dixter Plant Fairs obviously attract people who love buying plants; the fairs are a magnet for those who are seeking the rare and unusual species – the collectors who know that Dixter will gather together for two weekends in the year the best growers and nurserymen in the country. Twice a year, in Spring and Autumn, a field behind Dixter nursery is transformed into a temporary plant fair that’s held over two days. I’ve been many times with my husband, sometimes to help out with a plant organisation’s stall that not only sells specialist plants but provides information on how to grow them: as I am no expert I just fetch and carry and offer to get teas and snacks for the other helpers and sometimes sell plants.

The fairs are colourful events. Each nursery or plant organisation sets up a stall in a quirky, rustic open-sided hut that’s provided by Dixter. The plants on sale are displayed on tables, boxes or on the rough grass; some displays are very artistic and colourful. In October the morning mists add a magical touch to the scene while the sellers set up their displays before moving their vans into a neighbouring car park before the buyers arrive. Great Dixter has a stall selling hot food – soup, hot dogs – and their usual refreshments loggia near the gift shop sells drinks, savoury snacks and gorgeous cakes. There are also garden sundries on sale and obviously Great Dixter itself has a large stall usually selling its famous handmade wooden benches and small hurdles. Saturday tends to be the day for the avid plant collectors who arrive early while on Sunday more families come along with their children and dogs, although dogs are only allowed on the plant fair field – not in the garden. A quick check round the plant fair, something to eat or drink and then a tour of Great Dixter garden makes for a good day out – particularly if the weather is fine. Fergus Garrett makes sure the planting in the garden is under constant change so there’s always something new to discover. There is parking in the usual car parks and an extra field but at times last Autumn things got very busy. Great Dixter is now run by a charitable trust and relies on its volunteers to help with these large events.

There is disabled parking opposite the ticket booth and it is possible to borrow a wheelchair (there are two) but it must be booked in advance by email. Great Dixter is not one of the best gardens for disabled visitors, those in wheelchairs or children in pushchairs as there are lots of steps and very narrow paths. It might be a good idea to research further before visiting. A map is available showing a possible route round parts of the garden and there are accessible toilets. On that subject, the toilets at the end of the refreshments loggia, which are the closest to the plant fair, get overwhelmed so it’s quicker to walk back to the main toilet block opposite the car park near the entrance; there are far more toilets there and the experience is far more pleasant than standing in a long queue.

This autumn the cost for entrance to the plant fair and Great Dixter garden is £13 (free for Friends of Dixter and season ticket holders). It’s open from 11.00 am to 4.00 pm on 7 and 8 October. More information and map of the garden is available online – just search for Great Dixter Autumn Plant Fair 2023.

hardyplant

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