Gertrude Jekyll was an artist born in fashionable Mayfair London England in November 24th 1843 . In her late 50s her eyesight was fading and so she took up photography instead. Having seen a medical eye specialist who told her even specs would not bring back bright eyesight for art painting of colours. He suggested she took up simple gardening .
The planning and colours of plants soon had her building flower borders in glee. She became so good at it that many friends asked for her advice.
Her photographs helped promote her and by accident she met a young architect who needed a gardeners eye to promote his work.
It was then that the unlikely two became instrumental in design and build of gardens all over Europe and into America besides all over England.
In carts trains and buses they crossed the many garden customers that came to hear of the architect and the lady gardener. Lutchen and Jekyll went on to fashion over 400 gardens in their partnership.
Best work they did in England was out in the Black Hills of Somerset at what is today the property of The Somerset Fire Brigade offices . Hestercombe is the name still with it and gardens and buildings as it was left when first built can be seen by the visitor today .
Gertrude in a garden
Many have vanished or have been deserted by owners over the years. What are
left many have been remade from plans of original garden. Great interest has returned the fame of both Jekyll and Lutchen recently.
Books by Gertrude Jekyll are back in print and her best quotes recalled even by me as a child in fathers lovely garden.
” The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies .”
” A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness. It teaches industry and thrift above all it teaches entire trust .
” There is no spot of ground however arid, bare or ugly that cannot be tamed into such a state as may give an impression of beauty and delight “
These are the few of her sayings I can remember but many more hard to find .
I find myself designing a border and instantly her words come into mind . She was an amazing lady even in her times. She died In her home that she commissioned Edmund Lutchens to design and build .She called it Momstead House and she built her last garden there.
Gertrude Jekyll 1843- 1932 buried in Saint Johns church yard Busbridge Surrey England aged 89
Copyright Kevin Parr Bt 2022