Dear Friend and Gardener: Letters on Life and Gardening – Beth Chatto and Christopher Lloyd
In this engaging and fascinating exchange of personal letters, two of the most influential gardeners of all time compare notes on successes and failures in their two very different gardens. As Christopher Lloyd and Beth Chatto convey their gardening experiences, share gossip and discuss life and nature, the horticultural expertise of these two long-established friends and distinguished gardeners gives these inspirational letters a life of their own. Beth Chatto’s garden in East Anglia is a place of pilgrimage for plant lovers, while Christopher Lloyd was one of the major figures in twentieth century gardening, transforming the gardens of his home Great Dixter in East Sussex.
Friday 16 February Dear Beth, Today was straight out of my idea of heaven – the first such day this year and the first time that all the winter crocuses have opened wide, in appreciation. Armed with my kneeling pad, I dropped to my knees to savour the honey scent of C. chrysanthus ‘Snow Bunting’.
Rosemary Alexander, who spends more and more time at Stoneacre (the National Trust property near Maidstone, which she rents), expressed doubts on whether it wouldn’t be better to concentrate on snowdrops, seeing that crocuses spend so much of their time in an obstinately closed state, loudly proclaiming ‘this isn’t good enough for me’. I can see her point, of course. […] Tuesday 20 February Dear Christo, What a good thing you enjoyed your crocuses when you had the chance! Today we are blanketed in snow once more, with a wild north wind hurling stinging dry snow horizontally past the windows.
Your way of having crocuses (and many other bulbs) naturalized in short grass is a far more effective way of growing them than in conventional borders. Left to seed themselves in little knots and ribbons of colour they appear like embroidery across a carpet before something else takes over the design. […]
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