The Adventurous Gardener

Christopher Lloyd is helping me get over a nasty head-cold. More specifically, his book 'The Adventurous Gardener', not so ancient as to have black-and-white photographs, but old-school nevertheless. And maybe not so 'adventurous' for the daring, modern gardener, but he's certainly providing good quality, ageless company.

 My Get-Well-Soon gardening book.
The Adventurous Gardener

Shrubberies, Spring...

In the middle of a sleepless night I've made a cup of tea, humphed back to bed, and snorted and sniffed my way through a chapter on shrubberies. Interesting - he recommends the golden leafed Philadelphus. I've got one. But he doesn't rate Escallonias. I like them, particularly the golden leafed variety. Hmm...

In the morning, not sure whether I feel like getting up or giving up, I've read an article about yellow and white spring combinations. A nice, fresh concept! He writes well. And it's not all yesterday's gardening news, either. I'm so impressed with the number of plants referred to, named in full. I wish I could do that.

Sunday 30th March

When a semi-sick gardener starts reading serious gardening books she is on the mend. Today I managed four slow hours gardening, cleaning up in the middle of the Wattle Woods, in places where none of my paths reach. There were ailing Phormiums to trim or divide up (done that), Anemanthele grasses to dig out (done that), Hebes to prune (done that), and rubbish to rake off the ground (done lots and lots of that). I worked really slowly, but I felt good. I burnt all my rubbish.

+10Minimus my cottage cat kept me company. She'd follow at a discrete distance, but whenever I picked up the camera she'd zoom into the foreground. Here she is showing off her tree-hugging skills. Minimus is a natural born poser.

 Zooming in front of my camera!
Minimus the Cat

Then a shower, and off to bed for an afternoon nap with Christopher Lloyd (so to speak). This time I read about bedding plans for one of his gardens. It isn't clear to me how many under-gardeners he had beavering away in the background, but it's obvious he was the boss of the people as well as the plants.

Tuesday 1st April

Yesterday I gave Christopher Lloyd (and myself) the day off. Today we were back together, on track. After a quick flick through 'Garden Visitors' (jolly annoying when they pinch his plant labels!) I zoomed back into the Wattle Woods to finish my clean-up. It's rather nice in there - I've made a jolly decent, safe route up through the large grasses near the fence-line. But no-one would know it was there. A secret path! Perhaps not the most useful of garden features...

 Spot the path?
Secret Path in the Wattle Woods

I didn't have an afternoon sleep today. I decided my time was better spent carting gum leaves to the bonfire and trimming the summer phloxes. But I thought a lot about me and Christopher Lloyd (fair enough - I have been sharing a bed with the bloke). We two are very different, in so many ways. Firstly, gardening generations separate us. If he were still alive he wouldn't like me and my garden at all.

Christopher Lloyd :
Christopher Lloyd gardened at Great Dixter in England. Thanks to for his photograph.

He, the superb plantsman, would see a dizzy dabbler, hopelessly naive about the plant kingdom. He, the writer, would wonder how, with such sketchy knowledge, I ever found the nerve to write anything about gardening. He would dislike my Wattle Woods, full of Phormiums and grasses, huge Eucalpytus trees, the four remaining Wattles so untidy, broken branches hanging high in their forks - too far-gone to bother calling the arborist. And as for a secret, pushy path through waist-high Anemantheles... Piffle!

Autumn and Roses...

I'd like to mention two more things - autumn, and roses. I've been doing autumn chores for a few weeks now, without taking much notice of colour changes in the trees. But 'things' are on the move. Oak leaves are fluttering down in the Pond Paddock. The Dogwoods are starting to colour red, pink, and orange. It's so dark in the mornings - our daylight saving ends next weekend.

 The trees over the water race are starting to colour.
Almost Autumn

In my travels with the wheelbarrow I pass by many roses in their second flowering. Individuals are better appreciated because there are not so many blooms on each shrub. For some the surroundings are quite bare, as I've trimmed down their neighbour perennials. The colours are so beautiful.

I could never be without roses, though some inhabitants of the Glass-House Garden seem to have fallen on hard times. Glamis Castle (unhealthy, a poor grower in my garden) has been shifted into a pot and two small scrappy supposed-to-be rugosas have - oops - gone on the bonfire.


The Adventurous Gardener is the first book by Christopher Lloyd that I've ever read. The adjective 'adventurous' will depend on the mood (and age?) of the reader. Highly recommended as an interesting, no-nonsense bed-fellow. We can all do with one of those...