Monday, December 13, 2010

The View from Great Dixter: Christopher Lloyd’s Garden Legacy, or why I’ll be buying another Fascicularia bicolor as soon as I find one.

I’ve enjoyed all the recent blog posts on the best 5 books for gardeners, and I’ve even picked up a few titles to add to my library hold list. My timing for recommending this book is purely coincidental; I’m not listing 5, just this one. And I’m not suggesting you give it to anyone on your gift list. No, The View from Great Dixter: Christopher Lloyd’s Garden Legacy is a book you deserve for yourself!

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this title, but I was very pleasantly surprised. As I read the first few pages I found myself regretting that I’d never have the opportunity to meet one of the world’s greatest gardening personalities, but then by the time I finished the book I realized I felt as though I had.

There are so many wonderful stories and remembrances shared throughout the book. Themes reoccur (the Dachshunds were frequently out for blood…you always had a notebook handy when touring a garden with Christo) and pictures form in your mind of the many meals enjoyed among friends.

There are also (of course) many mentions of plants and the gardens, but these are not the focus on the book, merely incidentals. However one of them spoke very loudly to me: “Christo proudly showed me a clump of Fascicularia bicolor strapped into the guttering at the back of the kitchen and said, “It’s an idea Fergus and I are trying out. Most people grow Fascicularia in pots or in the garden, but they are really epiphytes in the wild. All they need is an occasional soaking with fresh water. They’ll certainly get this when it rains, but they won’t become soggy and rotten. I think we’ll see more people trying to grow them in this way in the future. A new type of pinecone perhaps.”
- quote from Ian Hodgson (editor of RHS magazine The Garden)
- photo credit to Jonathan Buckley.
I’ve been toying with the idea of trying a second Fascicularia bicolor ever since my first one melted in the extreme cold of 2009. This little story is all I needed…the next time I see one I’m buying it. I doubt I’ll actually be mounting it to our gutter but I will be experimenting with a less earthbound planting scheme.


  1. i remember reading that in one of my CL books"The Well-Tempered garden" perhaps. It must have been before I 'd bought a F.B. Thanks for reminding me. Mine is still doing well.

  2. I love the colours! You may not plant it in the gutter, but you have to admit it looks good!

  3. this one almost made it to my "wishlist" post this year, I'm a big fan of a few of Lloyd's books, now it's definitely on the "must get" list for post-holiday buying.

  4. linda, I would love to see a picture on your blog of how you have yours planted!

    Laura, Oh I love the way it looks in the gutter! My #1 reason for not planting in the gutter is that my husband is completely function over form. He would come unglued. #2 We get too much rain, I am afraid it would drown in our little gutters!

    Ryan, it is a wonderful read, but is by his friends and colleagues, there really isn't any writing by Mr Lloyd...I hope you'll still enjoy it.

  5. Esa planta es chilena!


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