Great Dixter was the home of gardener and gardening writer Christopher Lloyd (1921-2006), who developed it into a hub of ideas and connections that spread out across the world.
Christopher Lloyd was educated at Rugby and King’s College Cambridge, where he read modern languages from 1939. He was called up in 1941, ultimately into the Royal Artillery, and spent some time in E.Africa before being demobbed in 1946. From earliest childhood, a love of gardening, nurtured by his mother, had been the keystone of his life so after the army he took a degree in decorative horticulture at Wye College in Kent and subsequently joined the staff as a lecturer for two years. From there he returned to Great Dixter to make his living from the garden and devote his life to it. Visitors were encouraged and a nursery was opened to sell them the plants they admired in the borders. A talent for writing, also evident from an early age, came to the fore with the publication of his first book in 1957. Thereafter the pattern was set for almost the next fifty years. A charismatic and sometimes controversial gardener, capable of inspiring a popular audience through both the written and the spoken word, and with a wonderfully atmospheric and picturesque garden at the heart of it all, Lloyd put Great Dixter on the international map. He was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Medal of Honour in 1997 and an OBE in 2000.