The View from Great Dixter

The View from Great Dixter; Christopher Lloyd’s Garden Legacy
Fergus Garrett, long faithful Great Dixter gardener, writes in the Preface: This book is centered around one incredible man and his way of life. Christopher Lloyd was born and lived most of his life at Great Dixter. He was an extraordinary character, a kind, generous, intelligent man who loved people but at the same time didn’t suffer fools gladly. His garden has remained a place of pilgrimage for adventurous gardeners throughout the world and his spirit and style lives on here and in his writing. He was undoubtedly one of the greatest garden writers and gardeners of all time and his influence is immense. His words in print remain his legacy and his influence is immense. His words in print remain his legacy and his influence burns bright in all of us he breathed life into. He changed our lives and long may his memory last. Fergus Garrett

Rosemary Alexander writes in the Preface,
It is often said that Christopher Lloyd collected people, and after his death many of us in his ‘collection’ recalled the happy occasions and fruitful friendships we all enjoyed at Great Dixter as a way of coming to terms with our loss. As so many of us had such amazing memories of plant advice, practical jokes, delicious dinners, snatches of conversations including his famous (feared) ‘put downs’ we decided, at one of our regular Dixter Development Committee meetings, to gather then together in a book.
Great Dixter was, and continues to be, rather like some vast extended family, with everyone drawn together by mutual interests and a love for the place. Many of today’s great gardeners who worked or spent time at Dixter describe how the lessons they learned there continue to influence their work today.

Expansive herbaceous borders, orchid-filled meadows enveloped by old stone, precision-carved topiary, and an air of gentle eccentricity make Great Dixter the quintessential English country garden. Yet the impact of Christopher Lloyd’s unique creation extends way beyond the gardening world and affects all who pass through it in a very particular way.

In this intimate collection of written and photographic contributions, Christopher Lloyd’s wide circle of family and friends describe what Great Dixter means to them. Food, poetry, music and plants feature large with one guest recounting the delight of eating an exquisitely cooked turbot and another how a bloom of magnolia was analyzed with botanical precision during the course of dinner. Visitors remember the feel of the centuries-old floorboards underfoot, the thrill of waking early to peer out on topiary enshrouded in fog, and many describe how, in one way or another, Great Dixter changed their lives.

This valuable record encapsulates what makes time spent at Great Dixter in particular, and to some extent time spent in all gardens, so irreplaceable. It adds an important layer to our understanding of Christopher Lloyd’s achievements and spurs us on to new heights in our own gardening endeavors.
“Life at Dixter with Christopher, or as much as I have savoured it from time to time, is like a very long and intricately worded sentence; a synthesis of perpetual entertainment, fine cuisine, opulent plenitudes of Scotch and Champagne and the ratchety barks of ardently pampered dachshunds, al wrapped within an historical house and polymorphic garden. ” Dan Hinkley, author of The Explorer’s Garden
About the authors,
Rosemary Alexander

Rosemary Alexander has devoted her life to garden design — running a garden design business as well as the English Gardening School. She believes that as people realize the therapeutic nature of gardening, garden design will become even more popular.
Fergus Garrett
Fergus Garrett joined Great Dixter as Head Gardener in 1992 and worked closely with Christopher Lloyd as gardener and friend during an important time in the garden’s development. Now he combines his full-time, hands-on gardening role at Dixter with lecturing, writing articles, serving on Royal Horticultural Society committees and, as Chief Executive of the Great Dixter Charitable Trust, moving the garden forward in ever more exciting directions.
The View from Great Dixter; Christopher Lloyd’s Garden Legacy
A compilation, edited by Fergus Garrett and Rosemary Alexander
Timber Press
Copyright 2010
Hardcover, 207 pages, $27.95

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