Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Winter Reading: Color for Adventurous Gardners by Christopher Lloyd

I am still trying to do so some reading of quality gardening/plant books this winter. This is the third book I have read by Christopher Lloyd who has a wonderful sense of humour. Color for Adventurous gardners goes through each color flowers can be, describing his favorite in each. It includes mauve, green, brown, and black. His basic tenet is that one doesn't have to worry about color clashes in the garden but maybe he just has an inborn sense of good taste. He says, "In our adventurous borders, the loudest reds and oranges, with which it contrasts so tellingly, can be let loose given green as a safety net." In the very latest issue of the English Garden Magazine, there is a quote from Dr. Jimmy Smart, creator of Marwood Hill Gardrens, in Devon (England): "One never really notices clashing colour in the wild and there are very few occasions when it offends me in the garden." This is the same idea. Lloyd doesn't seem to be a fan of Monarda- one would expect it in the chapter on red. Also, Hemerocallis are not used alot- I would have expected them in the chapter on orange flowers. In his chapter on white flowers, he warns not to use huge expanses of blaring white. His chapter on mauve is interesting: mauve is a color many think they don't like. Magenta, another comtroversial color is included in the chapter on purple flowers. Purple, magenta and mauve run into each other and seem to mean different things to different people- they run into blue and pink also. The only color he discusses which I have not just mentioned is yellow which also scares people. Lloyd is not a timid flower colorist.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Well Tempered Garden by Christopher Lloyd

This is a classic of gardening literature and at least for mee took some time to read- especially as I needed to look up many plants which don't grow here or even in Philadelphia. The book is filled with tons of information and alot of humor, often of a slightly snide type which I love. He writes about propagation, planting techniques, garden design, cultivars of many plants all from years ans years of personal experience. I started marking passages I wanted to mention but don't have time now to do so. A few examples: He has a discussion of sea buckthorn for seaside planting, he talks about using Polygonaum cuspidata as an ornamental,he mentions a controversy about planting Japanese iris in a pond,he talks about pruning the top portion of a plant when transplanting, what about Forsythias?, he questions peonies being easy to grow and what about peony rings, he cautions about planting in even lines. Those are what I noted in 50 pages of a 450 page book.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Christopher Lloyd's Meadows

I am hoping to do more reading of excellent plant books this winter. The first one I just finished last night is Meadows by Christopher Lloyd. I have noticed from plant conferences which I have attended, customers at the nursery, and landscape jobs which our nursery is involved with, that more and more people are attracted to the idea of "meadows". They want areas with more biodiversity for insects (pollinators), birds, and mammals. Also they don't want to "waste" quite so much time mowing and people are growing to prefer a wilder more natural look for their yards. However, creating a meadow or a meadow/prairie garden is not as easy as one might think and hope. Christopher Lloyd describes his meadow gardening with alot of humour and excellent photographs.