When greeting card artist Caroline Kent moved to her Sussex cottage in 2010, a local gardener suggested that she develop a wildflower meadow on an area of brambly scrubland.
For inspiration, she didn’t have far to look. The meadow at Great Dixter in East Sussex, England, has been inspiring other gardeners and designers for decades. Some make a pilgrimage to Dixter to see whimsical yew topiaries and spectacular wildflowers, or for the annual meadow gardening study day with head gardener Fergus Garrett.
A very lucky few manage to get their hands on some of the Great Dixter’s own meadow “strewage”—seed-rich cuttings—with which to start their own wildflower patch. In 2014 Caroline Kent was one of the lucky ones.
Photography by Mark Winwood.
In the four years since Caroline Kent began creating her meadow, it has flourished with a succession of native wildflowers and the diverse wildlife that follows, including shrews and slowworms.
Like many meadow makers, Caroline has followed a traditional regimen. “We scythe and rake and then scarify the ground in September, which takes the best part of a week or more. It’s labor intensive, but it seems to be working well at the moment,” she says.
Cowslips, snakeshead fritillaries, wild orchids, snowdrops, and crocuses are among the flowers depicted in the In the Meadow series of 12 cards. Each of Caroline’s line drawings is reproduced on an antique Heidelberg letterpress at Adams of Rye and then individually handpainted with a traditional dip pen and ink. And to give thanks, a donation from the sale of each card goes to the Great Dixter Charitable Trust.
Designing a meadow garden? Read more:
- Expert Advice: 8 Tips for a Meadow Garden from Grass Guru John Greenlee
- Required Reading: Flower Meadows at Great Dixter and Beyond
- Ask the Expert: How to Plant a Meadow Garden, with James Hitchmough