Exotic Planting for Adventurous Gardeners is about the most exciting plants grown by Christopher Lloyd in his garden at Great Dixter in East Sussex.
The great plantsman tells the story of his Exotic Garden, which has delighted, and sometimes shocked, summer visitors since it replaced the Edwardian rose garden nearly fifteen years ago.
The rose garden, designed by Edward Lutyens, had remained unchanged for nearly eighty years. Then, in 1993, much to the horror of many establishment figures, Lloyd asked his newly appointed head gardener Fergus Garrett to eliminate the roses.
'The noise of tearing old rose roots as they were being exhumed', he writes, 'was music to my ears.' And then the fun began: the bold foliage of palms was combined with handsome cut-leaved sumach and arching New Zealand flax; statuesque cannas and bright dahlias, threaded with mauve verbena and infilled with annual climbers, added dazzling colour from June until the first frosts, and the whole feeling created was one of being wrapped in a voluptuous living community.
For everyone who loves reading Christopher Lloyd, Exotic Planting for Adventurous Gardeners is an unexpected bonus.
His last and most adventurous work was almost complete at the time of his death in 2006 and, having lived a long life helping other people, a handful of his gardening friends gladly picked up the reigns.
Among them are the novelist Frank Ronan who has taken overall responsibility for completing the text, and Anna Pavord who contributes an opening chapter on exotic gardens in history.
Illustrated with hundreds of photographs by Jonathan Buckley, Exotic Planting for Adventurous Gardeners both inspires and instructs.
Few gardeners will be able to resist Lloyd's call to 'do something outlandish, to splash out, and be freer than ever'.