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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

Now that bedding impatiens (I. walleriana) are not recommended because of impatiens downy mildew, what are three good annuals for shade?

I have two 20-year-old pine trees whose needles are turning brown on the west side of the plants. On the east side I have a compost pile.

I live in the St. Charles region and my soil is mostly clay. What is causing the browning? Should I get rid of the compost? How do I correct the damage?

From what I have read, hellebores are supposed to spread. I have a few I planted four years ago, and they seem to be the same as when I planted them. They are planted in a bed of vinca. Should I remove more vinca that surrounds them? I do fertilize them and protect them with a winter mulch. What else should I be doing to have more plants?

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