Sunday, 6 February 2011
The influence of a certain Mr Lloyd
There appears to be a lot of writing about Great Dixter and Christopher Lloyds' influence on the gardens of today going on at the moment and its hardly surprising! The Garden Museum had an excellent exhibition about him and his life last year alongside Dixteresque planting in their borders, which I was lucky enough to help plant with their intern ,Matt Collins, last summer. There have been several books released about the man and his life recently and no one has readily stepped into his influential shoes. So just for a moment I would like to add my own reminiscence.
Eight years ago I lost my Mum, who up until then had been my gardening guru as she could, annoyingly, grow anything, anywhere. In the months after she died I felt the need to visit certain places and gardens that I knew she had loved and been influenced by, and needless to say, Great Dixter was one of those places. So there I was, on a very quiet, grey and cloudy Wednesday afternoon, feeling very bad and sitting on a seat in Dixters garden in a morbid world of my own. Someone sat down next to me, said "Good afternoon" and enquired as to why the sad face, and before I knew it I had poured out the lot...and it was a lot, before I looked up to see Christopher Lloyd sitting next to me, listening intently. I apologised profusely for my rambling and he asked if visiting had made anything any better. My reply was not really but that the garden was stunning and that in time I thought it would. We spoke about mothers for a while and he made his excuses and ambled away, dachaunds following after saying how important it was to follow true loves and influences in life.
I now realise it was at that point that I decided to leave my reasonably successful career in catering and find my way in horticulture so I guess you could say that The Physic Garden, in my mind, is an amalgam of mine and Mums' love of plants and gardens, mixed with Kristi's enthusiasm and a kick up the backside into action by the great Christo himself.
So, how can it fail....its just not an option!! Today we have sown more chillies, potted on Salvia patens and next weekend there will be Phlomis, Chinese Lanterns and more Chillies to pot on and the propagator to fill with more seeds. Its all starting to happen and is so exciting I can hardly even explain.
So, whatever other folks thoughts on Christopher Lloyd, I can only thank hi for pulling me out of grief and making me use it as a starting point to a better and more fulfilled life. Now all I need to do is try to work out how nothing ever died in Mum's garden.....maybe it just didn't dare!!