Focus on Flowers
When Christopher Lloyd's mother, Daisy, died at 91 in 1972, the gardens at Great Dixter were finally under the total control of her son. Christo was then free to share the house and garden with visitors and enthusiastic garden acolytes. He even taught himself to cook and published a book in 1997 entitled the Gardener Cook.
He then discovered neglected parts of the garden such as the horse pond, planted water lilies there, and began to entertain. He always had liked unorthodox color combinations, such as red tulips with lime green euphorbia.
In 1979, he received the Royal Horticultural Society's Victoria Medal of Honour, and in 2000 the Queen bestowed an OBE (Order of the British Empire) upon him.
He then began turning some parts of his garden into prairies, similiar to gardens he had visited in the American Midwest. In 1993, he hired Fergus Garrett as his head gardener and together they turned the traditional 80-year-old rose garden into an exotic tropical area.
Christo was amused by the consequent criticism from traditionalists. Fergus expanded the nursery and they worked together for 15 years. They set up the Great Dixter National Trust so that the garden could continue in perpetuity. Christo died in 2006, but the garden continues to evolve, showcasing unusual plants and unorthodox combinations under Fergus's leadership. Students and visiting horticulturalists inhabit the house (Fergus and his family live in the nearby village.) and revel in seeing all the evolving beauty each season in this truly historic garden.
This is Moya Andrews, and today we focused on Christo’s final years.