A book meme

Zoe has tagged me for a meme founded on a book. Sadly I think mine is going to be crashingly boring for anyone who isn't a gardening addict.

Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).

2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the next three sentences.

5. Tag five people.

The book which is closest to hand is Christopher LLoyd's "The Well-tempered Garden". It is one I read and reread, dipping in and out, sometimes just reading a chapter and putting it away again. He is, or I should say was, as he died last year in his late eighties, one of the world's great gardeners. it is astonishing to me that I somehow have not yet made it to Great Dixter, the garden he created, latterly with Fergus Garrett in Sussex. Still it is good to have ambitions. I want to go when it is not full of visitors so that means at one end of the season or the other. He is famed for keeping the borders flowering madly late into autumn so, although in my own garden spring is my favourite time, I think I should go in October in a golden Indian summer day.

He was a witty, generous man with a reputation for not suffering fools gladly. It is a great book to read for his opinionated, ascerbic style as well as for his bottomless fund of gardening knowledge. Along with the expected section on pruning and weeding and layering, he has a section called "Planned and unplanned garden effects" and best of all"The fallible plant" and "The fallible gardener".

Here is the extract from page 123:

"What do you call that? Rhubarb?" is a frequent question from jocular visitors. It jars a little with repetition. After all the rhubarbs are strikingly handsome plants too. In a sunny position Gunnera manicata grows only 5 foot tall with leaves of a 4 foot span, but it is probably happier in the sun.

You see what I mean: not a great extract for reeling in new readers. However if you are at all interested in gardening, give it a go.
I am supposed to tag another five people so I tag bodran, mountainear, laurie, kaycie and pondside if they would like to.


  1. Love Christopher Lloyd, but then I would, you took the meme from one of my favourite books. Have you the book based on his and Beth Chatto's letters ? I seem to recall you are a fan of hers too. Something has just occurred to me, I'll send you a PM.

  2. Sounds like a lovely book - we only have one of his, Colour for Adventurous Gardeners, which is lovely - but I'll look this one up too now.

  3. That sounds like a wonderful book, one I'd like to read.

    I'll do this meme in the next few days.

  4. Thank God! At last, rhubarb explained. Believe me, it strikes a chord after that drinks party blog! Well done!

  5. i'll be doing this meme on thursday or friday, after i finish the Boscoe Serial Narrative.

    who knows what book i'll be reading by then.....

    i look forward to seeing what Pondside and Kaycie are reading!

    and i have to say, i never thought of rhubarb as strikingly handsome, unless it is baked in a pie with some strawberries.

  6. You got me with just the pictures. Gorgeous.

    And I like rhubarb, for what that's worth!

  7. If the garden is anything like those wonderful photos, you're in for a treat!
    Can you imagine living there!

  8. Please pick up your new award from my new post!

  9. Thank you for your kind comments on my blog. I am glad you enjoyed your time in Whitehaven and Cumbria, I am very fond of my home town!
    I have one of Christopher LLoyds books but not this one - yet! I saw a programme about him and his life it was fascinating, what a character!

  10. My grandmother knew his mother, a wonderful eccentric, and I remember going with her to visit Great Dixter when I was a child. It was a magical wonderland I recall, the house just as eye-widening as the gardens. I guess I must have met Christopher, who also knew my uncle, but in my childish imagination I was away in the Secret Garden. I can still smell both the garden and the house in my memory.

  11. Oh Paula, what a memory to carry with you. Extraordinary thing to have done, lucky you.

  12. Beautiful pictures, Elizabeth. I actually quite like Gunnera and have always thought it looked a bit prehistoric because of its scale. I always half imagine a pterodactyl or loch ness monster type of animal is going to suddenly appear next to it.

    I'm still at the stage where I find gardening all a bit mysterious. I can just about manage runner beans and sweet peas, but I'm afraid that's about it. I do appreciate someone else's find garden, though.

  13. Don't you just love Christopher Lloyd?!

    This has been the first garden where we haven't bought a Gunnera-It's always been a plant that has prehistoric/jungle appearance, essential for a young boys play zone!! Made me laugh-so many people used to ask if it was rhubarb!


  14. Let me know if you do come to visit Great Dixter, Elizabeth, as I should love to come and meet you there. It is just around the corner for me, in country terms I mean. Actually a few miles down the road.

    Someone referred to it's likeness to her version of the Secret Garden when she visited as a child. We do have the real location for the Secret Garden locally too, at Great Maytham Hall in Rolvenden Layne, which we passed on our Christmas Walk.


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