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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 January 2006, 17:00 GMT
Writer and gardener dies aged 84
Christopher Lloyd
Christopher Lloyd at the nursery at Great Dixter
Writer and gardener Christopher Lloyd has died just months after launching a 3m campaign to preserve the house and garden to which he devoted his life.

Mr Lloyd, who was 84, died in hospital in Hastings, East Sussex on Friday. He had a stroke after surgery on his leg, his great nephew Chris Lloyd said.

Great Dixter, at Northiam, near Rye has been in the Lloyd family since 1910 and Mr Lloyd wanted to ensure it survived.

He set up the Great Dixter Charitable Trust to take over when he died.

My hope is that future generations will share the dynamic and exciting spirit that is Great Dixter today
Christopher Lloyd

Mr Lloyd said his great uncle was regarded as the pre-eminent plantsman among the horticultural community.

"He devoted his lifetime to creating one of the most experimental, exciting gardens of our time," Mr Lloyd said.

For over 40 years his great uncle wrote a column in Country Life Magazine and he was a regular contributor to the Guardian's gardening pages. He also wrote about 25 gardening books.

In 1998 he was awarded the OBE for his services to horticulture and he held the Royal Horticultural Society's Victoria Medal - the highest accolade the society can bestow.

Mr Lloyd owned only 40% of Great Dixter, in Northiam, near Rye, which had a record 44,000 visitors last year.

The remaining 60% will need to be bought from Mr Lloyd's niece.

Great Dixter garden
The Lloyd family have been at Great Dixter since 1910

The house at Great Dixter dates from about 1460, and was bought by Mr Lloyd's father Nathaniel in 1910.

He employed the architect Edwin Lutyens to restore the original building and extend it by dismantling a smaller house from the same period and transporting it from nearby Benenden, in Kent.

Mr Lloyd was born there in 1921 and studied horticulture at Wye College, near Ashford.

Later he set up a nursery at Great Dixter and developed the garden originally laid out by Lutyens.

"My hope is that future generations will share the dynamic and exciting spirit that is Great Dixter today," he had said.

"I don't want the place to become a museum.

"The garden is sure to change. It has changed a lot in my time and so has the house.

"That's fine, so long as it is appreciated as it deserves."

Perry Rodriguez, spokesman for the trust, said the appeal was started in November, and it was too early to say how well it would take off.

"The garden is one of the best in the UK. We have got friends and people worldwide who love the garden," he said.

"So far we have had a decent amount of interest."

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