If Christopher Lloyd wasn’t the greatest gardener of the last 50 years, he was certainly the greatest gardening writer. His writing was an inspiration to me long before I saw his garden at Great Dixter. I first got to know about the Echium Pininana from reading about it in a Christopher Lloyd book and straight away I ordered a packet of echium seeds. The echiums which I planted became some of the best plants in my garden and they now self-seed all over the place. When I last visited Great Dixter Christopher Lloyd was working away in the garden, as he did most days. I remember being rather surprised by how unkempt this famous garden was, but this didn’t worry the great man at all. These are some of the comments which he overheard while he was slaving away in the borders:
“You don’t know what a comfort it is for a gardener like me to see weeds in a garden like this”
“Did the owner die recently?”
“It must have been wonderful when the garden was kept up”.
Christopher Lloyd died four years ago and it’s good to see that the old adage that a garden dies with its owner doesn’t apply here. The place today is much as it was when I last visited, except that now it’s Fergus Garret working tirelessly away in the borders (in temperatures in the 90’s), no doubt wryly taking in what the tourists are saying, just as his old master did.