Christopher Lloyd (gardener)

Christopher Hamilton Lloyd, OBE (2 March 1921 – 27 January 2006) was a British gardener and author. He was the 20th-century chronicler for thickly planted, labour-intensive country gardening.[1]

Christopher Lloyd
Christopher Lloyd gardener.jpg
Born2 March 1921
East Sussex, United Kingdom
Died27 January 2006 (2006-01-28) (aged 84)
Hastings, United Kingdom
EducationRugby School, King's College, Cambridge, Wye College


Lloyd was born in Great Dixter, into an upper-middle-class family, the youngest of six children. In 1910, his father, Nathaniel Lloyd (an Arts and Crafts designer of posters and other images for confectionery companies), purchased Great Dixter, a manor house in Northiam, East Sussex near the south coast of England. Edwin Lutyens was hired to renovate and extend the house and advise on the structure of the garden. Nathaniel Lloyd loved gardens, designed some of the garden himself, and imparted that love to his son. Lloyd learned the skills required of a gardener from his mother Daisy, who did the actual gardening and who introduced him to Gertrude Jekyll.[citation needed]

After Rugby School, he attended King's College, Cambridge, where he read modern languages before entering the Army during World War II. After the war he received his bachelors in Horticulture from Wye College, University of London, in 1950. He stayed on there as an assistant lecturer in horticulture until 1954.[citation needed]

In 1954, Lloyd moved home to Great Dixter and set up a nursery specialising in unusual plants. He regularly opened the house and gardens to the public.[citation needed]

In 1979 Lloyd received the Victoria Medal of Honour, the highest award of the Royal Horticultural Society, for his promotion of gardening and his extensive work on their Floral Committee.[2] Lloyd was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Open University in 1996 and was appointed as an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2000.[citation needed]

Lloyd is the great uncle of Christopher Lloyd (world history author), the author of the best-selling non-fiction book What on Earth? Happened from the Big Bang to the Present Day, as well as a series of children's historical non-fiction Wallbook titles.


Lloyd was firmly rooted in the Arts and Crafts style of garden.[3] In most ways he was, like his mother and Gertrude Jekyll, a practical gardener. He said "I couldn't design a garden. I just go along and carp." [1] Despite his extensive work with flowers, he had an appreciation for the garden as a whole. He also understood human nature. One professional gardener likes to quote Lloyd from his book Foliage Plants on how "it is an indisputable fact that appreciation of foliage comes at a later stage in our education, if it comes at all."[4]


Lloyd rapidly felt the need to share his gardening discoveries and published The Mixed Border in 1957,[5] which was followed by Clematis in 1965,[6] and The Well-Tempered Garden in 1970.[7] Lloyd had begun a book on the use of exotic plants in British gardens when he died, his gardening friends and colleagues completed the book, Exotic Planting for Adventurous Gardeners, in 2007.[8]

"Meadows at Great Dixter and Beyond", published in 2004, explored Lloyd's use of meadow land around his house.[9]


  1. ^ a b "The Times & The Sunday Times".
  2. ^ Plant Committees of the Royal Horticultural Society Archived 2006-12-30 at the Wayback Machine The Floral Committee was subsequently divided into Floral A, Floral B, etc., and then reorganized as the various Plant Committees.
  3. ^ Buchan, Ursula (11 February 2006) "Gardeners' Gardener" Spectator 300(9262): pp. 46-47;
  4. ^ ""Gardening Advice: Garden Design" Royal Horticultural Society". Archived from the original on 30 December 2006.
  5. ^ Lloyd, Christopher Hamilton (1957), The Mixed Border W. H. & L. Collingridge, London, UK. Printed in a new edition for The Royal Horticultural Society in 1986 and 1991.
  6. ^ Lloyd, Christopher (1965), Clematis Country Life, London, UK. Reprinted by Capability's Books in 1989.
  7. ^ Lloyd, Christopher (1970) The Well-Tempered Garden Collins, London, UK, ISBN 0-00-211929-3. Reprinted by Viking in 1985 and Weidenfeld & Nicolson Illustrated in 2003.
  8. ^ Donald, Caroline (25 November 2007) "Beautiful and useful" 'The Sunday Times p. 54.
  9. ^ Gardenista. Retrieved 4 July 2019.

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