Celebrating over 60 years of cultivating knowledge and friendship


Wednesday, 9 April 2008

March Talk

“Gertrude Jekyll - her plants and designs”
An illustrated talk by David Usher from Taunton

For the second of this season's evening talks, the club invited David Usher, formerly head gardener of Hestercombe Gardens, to talk about Gertrude Jekyll, her plants and designs.

Our programme secretary, Denis Shand, reports that

With the aid of colour slides, David described the early life of Miss Jekyll, who at the age of 19, despite having poor eyesight, had an eye for painting, embroidery, carpentry and arts and crafts. On moving to Godaming in Surrey, she became very interested in gardening, writing articles for magazines and newspapers.

After meeting Sir Edwin Lutyens for tea, she decided that he should design her house. By this time she had become very interested in photography, processing her own shots for publication. In collaboration with Lutyens, Miss Jekyll designed the stunning Edwardian gardens at Hestercombe and later was invited to design an area of the gardens at Barrington Court. Apparently she hated to see soil in the border, preferring to fully plant them for depth of colour. She did like using canes for support and was a great lover of gladioli and yuccas. She also had a love of cats and like to see them lazing in the garden during the summer months, particularly on walls with plants growing out of the brick and stonework.

David concluded that from 1870 to 1932, this remarkable lady designed more than 300 gardens and many of today's landscape gardeners have been inspired by her.

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