My March copy of Gardens Illustrated arrived today. The cover features Christopher Lloyd as a new columnist, and inside is a continuation of an interview with him. Ironic timing and unfortunate since he died a few days ago. I remember when Phil and I visited Great Dixter in 1985. We passed him standing in the rose garden, talking to a young man. I was too shy to acknowledge him, much less try to start a conversation, but I'd been a reader of his books for a few years, and liked his prickly, opinionated style. He wrote about many plants I had no knowledge of, and that challenged me.
He changed the Great Dixter garden in many ways since I visited. Pulled up the rose garden and planted a tropical garden, I understand. And continued to make waves in the world of horticulture. In his first, and last, column in Gardens Illustrated, he writes of his interest in learning about the native flora in the places he visited - for example, learning that opuntias grow on the southern shores of Lake Michigan. "Nothing extraordinary about that you'll say, and possibly also add that many opuntias are extremely hardy," he writes. "But I wasn't born with that knowledge. The whole of life is a process of learning, which will only end with my death."
Great Dixter will continue through the efforts of The Great Dixter Charitable Trust.
Friends of Great Dixter
Great Dixter House and Gardens