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A Conversation on Color


At some point in a gardener’s life, he or she will likely come across the writings and photographs of the renowned gardener and garden writer Christopher Lloyd (1921-2006). Lloyd gardened at his family’s estate, Great Dixter, in Northiam, East Sussex, in the south of England. The wonderfully atmospheric and picturesque garden surrounds a rambling fifteenth-century Tudor-style manor house that continues to draw thousands of visitors each year.

A charismatic and highly opinionated gardener, Lloyd was capable of inspiring others through his written and spoken word. His head gardener and renowned plantsman, Fergus Garrett, carries on Lloyd’s unique gardens. Garrett will be at the Chicago Botanic Garden on Monday, March 24 from 2 to 4 p.m. to discuss the thought process involved in creating vibrant plant combinations where colors are used to maximum effect. Great Dixter’s beds and borders paint a powerful, vibrant and adventurous picture, one that is sure to inspire you as you think about planting your own garden this year. After the presentation, he’ll be joined by local plantsman Roy Diblik to continue the discussion. The fee is $37 for nonmembers; (members receive 20% discount). To register, visit chicagobotanic.org/school or call 847-835-8261.

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questions

What is the best time to plant a tree in northern Illinois?

I have two 3-year-old rose of Sharon plants, about 20 feet apart. One blooms every year. The other plant forms about 100 buds and looks healthy, but it has not bloomed in the last two years. The buds are solidly closed and look as if they are rotting from the inside out. There does not seem to be any sign of insects on the plant. What is this problem?

We moved into a house with a lovely azalea that didn’t bloom. We thought it might have been over-pruned. Last fall we did not prune it and now it still hasn’t bloomed. I was hoping to transplant it this year, but it looks rather sickly. Shall we prune it again and give it another year? Can I still transplant it?

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