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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

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?

I have a nicely sheltered, rounded 7-foot tall Japanese red maple on the southeast corner of my backyard. Half of the tree has lost its leaves, the formerly red bark is turning gray, and a good-sized square of bark has been stripped off on the side that faces the yard. I sprayed the exposed bark with black pruning spray to close any entry for insects. I have not cut off any of the branches.

Does the winter have any effect on the tree? Should I look for some insect infestation? What should I do now?

What are your three favorite “all-but-forgotten” perennials that every garden should include? Why do you like them?

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