The Year at Great Dixter

Christopher Lloyd, Author Viking Books $24.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-670-80982-0
Veteran British gardening writer Lloyd cares for the gardens (open spring and summer to the public) on the grounds of his family's 15th century manor house, Great Dixter. This book, his 10th, offers 12 essays on the gardens, one for each month of the year. Lloyd weaves in family lore (his parents bought the property in 1910 and engaged Edwin Lutyens to design the garden), seasonal reflections (""Gives me a fine March day with the sound of flies and bees in the air and I'm on top of the world''), gardening opinions (``Much as I love daffodils, I unquestionably lean towards the crocuses because of the spontaneous way they open to sunshine'') and practical tips (``Border phloxes need dead-heading''). The book is enjoyable when Lloyd describes the various flowers that surround his manor house. But he tends to bog down in minutiawill readers care that his mother wore ``Austrian dirndl costume'' for the last 36 years of her life? One hundred color photographs, many taken by the author, offer nice bits and pieces of the gardens. But the lighting is sometimes poor, and the composition does not give the reader enough of a sense of the gestalt of Great Dixter's gardens. (October)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1987
Release date: 11/01/1987
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