Gertrude Jekyll is due not only the complete transformation of horticultural
design, but also that wide diffusion of knowledge and taste that has made
us almost a nation of gardeners ".
About Gertrude Jekyll
Jekyll, 1843-1932, was
probably the most respected gardener of her time and her influence on the
art of gardening is evident throughout the world today. She designed about
400 gardens (three of which were for clients in the United States) but,
because so few survive and only a handful are accurately restored, it is
by her books and articles that she is best remembered. She taught the world
the full craft and art of gardening. She appreciated the beauty of both
natural and formal styles and explained the importance of structure, proportion,
colour, scent and texture in gardens of almost any scale. As her obituary
Jekyll was born in 1843, the fourth of six surviving children, into an affluent,
artistic family. As a young girl her parents allowed her to take the unusual
step of attending Henry Coles's School of Art at South Kensington in London.
Here she made the first of the many friends in the world of arts and crafts,
which was later to be extended into the world of horticulture and architecture.
Gertrude Jekyll was an intelligent witty and popular woman but she was large
and a little plain. In the nineteenth century the role of the spinster daughter
was usually to look after ageing parents, but both Gertrude and her family were
enlightened enough to accept that she would make a career in art, writing and
her eyesight grew weaker with age, Jekyll was advised by doctors to give up
close, demanding work such as embroidery and the many other applied arts she
had mastered. She concentrated her talents on gardening. . When she was 46 she
met the aspiring young architect Edwin Lutyens who was then, in 1889, only 20.
There developed between them a respect for each other's work and a profound
friendship that was to last for the rest of her life. She died at the age of
89 in 1932 having left the world of horticulture several books, hundreds of
articles and albums of photographs.
The Formal Garden
mouseclick over the maps to see various photos of the garden