The well-chosen garden Essay

There seems to be no end to the flow of garden books from Britain.

Many are beautiful but frustrating, showing us plants we can never growin space we don’t have. A recent exception is ChristopherLloyd’s The Well-Chosen Garden (Harper and Row, New York, 1984;$18.95). It is a treasure-house of information for gardeners in anyclimate, chiefly because it is about the way in which plants grow andrelate to each other and to their surroundings. The book is a collection of 38 essays, each dealing with aparticular garden problem, season, or opportunity. Each lists anddescribes useful plants for the situation, and each is illustrated withone or more color photographs.

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Essay subjects range widely:”Weavers and edge breakers” (plants that spill into paths andfill in between larger plants); “House walls” (vines andshrubs for covering large walls); and “Dark, dry, and rooty”(plants that will grow at the base of trees). Lloyd’s own well-stocked garden supplied much of the materialfor the book. Many of the plants he discusses are uncommon or rare, butmany are not. The principles he gardens by are applicable anywhere. Forinstance, to save space he recommends accommodating herbs into theflower garden rather than growing them by themselves, and suggests theuse of more ornamental forms–tricolor or golden sage instead of thecommon kind.

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