Friday, July 18, 2008

Gertrude Jekyll ~ Garden Legend

The impact of Gertrude Jekyll on gardening design has been paramount. Her partnership with Sir Edwin Luytens, who is considered by many to be the greatest English architect of all time, proved to be one of the most influential partnerships of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Born in Mayfair, London in 1843, she trained as an artist, and was greatly inspired by the Impressionists. She considered the garden her palette, a picture to be created, and used plants as her brush strokes. She was the first to take into account the color and texture of plants and viewed the garden as an experience. She raised the level of gardening to a creative art, and not only designed but planted, as well. She designed and planted over 400 gardens in the United Kingdon, America and Europe.

A prolific author who penned over 15 books and contributed hundreds of articles to magazines and journals, her books are still printed and read widely. Gertrude Jekyll was quoted as saying, "The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies". She died in 1932 and is buried in the churchyard of St. John the Baptist church in England, next to her brother, with a monument designed by Sir Edwin Luytens.

An interesting aside ~ her brother was friends with Robert Louis Stevenson, and it was their name that was used in his novel "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde".

The drawing below is of one of her border gardens in England.

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