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 grow
in space we don’t have. A recent exception is Christopher
Lloyd’s The Well-Chosen Garden (Harper and Row, New York, 1984;
$18.95). It is a treasure-house of information for gardeners in any
climate, chiefly because it is about the way in which plants grow and
relate to each other and to their surroundings.

The book is a collection of 38 essays, each dealing with a
particular garden problem, season, or opportunity. Each lists and
describes useful plants for the situation, and each is illustrated with
one or more color photographs. Essay subjects range widely:
“Weavers and edge breakers” (plants that spill into paths and
fill in between larger plants); “House walls” (vines and
shrubs for covering large walls); and “Dark, dry, and rooty”
(plants that will grow at the base of trees).

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Lloyd’s own well-stocked garden supplied much of the material
for the book. Many of the plants he discusses are uncommon or rare, but
many are not. The principles he gardens by are applicable anywhere. For
instance, to save space he recommends accommodating herbs into the
flower garden rather than growing them by themselves, and suggests the
use of more ornamental forms–tricolor or golden sage instead of the
common kind.


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