As Time goes By




Historical Gardens



The Internet is the way to draw your attention to interesting books. The most common way is to read blogs like these or to sniff around the online stores. The book The Year at Great Dixter I discovered by watching an interesting interview with the author of the book: Christopher Lloyd.

During the spring of 1987 Mavis Nicholson visited Great Dixter to meet the man who was one of the most influential garden writers of de second half of the last century. In a motherly confidential way she interrogate the somewhat shy bachelor on his youth, his loneliness and on what will become of Great Dixter after the writer dies. The answers are revealed by watching the YouTube film.

Mavis Nicholson and Christopher Lloyd on the couch with the dachshund between them

The interview is interspersed with haunting film clips of Lloyd walking through the springtime garden. Sitting on his knees weeding and always accompanied by one of his charming dachshunds. This rather unknown film captures Lloyd and Great Dixter at a time at which the old rose garden was still there and where his head gardener  Fergus Garrett was not yet in view. But the reason why I am telling you this story lies at the end of the interview where Mavis Nicholson is presenting the just-released book of the writer.

Scenes from the film on Christopher Lloyd at Great Dixter (1987)

“After all these years this book lies now in front of me.”

After all these years this book lies now in front of me. Although I bought a book in good shape the dust jacket shows some signs of wear. The photos are undeniable dating from the eighties and the same applies to the way of writing. Nevertheless, I really admire the humorous way he commits his thoughts to paper.  On the month January he writes: ”I know there are those who say they love the winter and witter on about its crispness and sparkle and the inspiration of your breath hanging on the frosty air (not to mention the dewdrop on the end of your snotty nose), but on how many days in January do you actually see the sun?”  This is unmistakable Lloyd’s witty way of reporting on his beloved garden.

The movie Casablanca (1942)


The melody “As time goes by” was sung by Sam (Dooly Wilson) in the film Casablanca which film gradually grew in popularity and consistently ranks near the top of lists of the greatest films in history. Heartbreaking is the scene in which Ilsa (Ingrid Bergmann) asks Sam to sing this song. Watch her eye movement at the 1.29 minute on which she remembers a moment in the past which will never come again.