Poster guru Timothy Coleman, the environmentalist behind the inspired and beautiful work from Good Nature Publishing, suggested I write about "Vitamin B" (books) for gardeners. Nutritionists tell us we probably need more Vitamin D - and most gardeners, after a long gardening season, are probably deficient in books....we just haven't had time to read as much as we'd like. Now, as days grow ever shorter, darker, wetter.... is the time for guilt-free reading.
I'm loving the new book The View from Great Dixter: Christopher Lloyd's Garden Legacy (Timber Press, 2010, $27.95). Seattle gardeners have a special place in their hearts for Christopher Lloyd, who memorably sat in a big plush chair and gave a fine talk at the Museum of History and Industry a few years ago. Since his death, Lloyd's protege Fergus Garrett has visited Seattle and judged at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show...plus many of us have spent happy hours wandering the spectacular gardens at Great Dixter, Lloyd's ancestral home in East Sussex.
What a fine idea to gather a bunch of Christo's friends - he was famous for his friendships - and encourage them to write about what it was like to spend time with him at Great Dixter. The book is a celebration, an education, and a joy to read, for Lloyd's friends are fine writers - including Dan Hinkley, Anna Pavord, and Beth Chatto. Their memories are literate, fond and funny, the photos make you feel like you might have cozied up with this impressive bunch yourself in the eccentric old manor house in one of the most gorgeous gardens in England. You not only get a picture Christo's hospitality (with recipes), and the garden in all seasons, but also a generous number of quotes that bring the man alive. My favorite is one from Ian Hooper that captures the rich gardens at Great Dixter. "Most of all, we remember something Christopher said one day that has inspired us ever since: 'A garden should be thick with incident."
You can read well and do good at the same time - all royalties from the book will be paid to the Great Dixter Charitable Trust.