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– A Garden from a Hundred Packets of Seed –

way? My garden had begun with a large collection of roses, and just as it was hitting its stride Christopher Lloyd attracted a good deal of attention by pulling up his roses to create a sub-tropical seasonal ensemble – beautiful in its execution and conception. Were we all supposed to pull up our roses as well? Lloyd had a brilliant, sly way of undermining one’s confidence in one’s own choices. It wasn’t just the anti-rose thing. There was an anti-iris thing as well. I will enjoy them in your garden, he might say, not in mine.

There was an element of perverse pleasure in talking down a species in this way. But there was also an underlying motif: think carefully about the merits of what you choose to grow. That lilac (he was down on lilacs) may look splendid in season, but what about the rest of the year? Does it merit its keep?

The playful tone of my own book, as it seems to me now, decades later, came from a desire to avoid pretentiousness while sticking close to what I knew to be my own taste – not my taste in the sense that I had created something at all original, but my taste in the sense that these particular pleasures were definitely mine. Originality, in gardening, is not for most of us very important. We copy what we like from other people’s gardens. But the goal should be to

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