A timeline of Gertrude Jekyll's life and where to see her greatest gardens

Today Google marked Gertrude Jekyll's 174th birthday with a colour-rich Google Doodle. We add our own tribute with a timeline of her life and a list of some of her greatest gardens to visit. 


We owe much to the Queen Victoria of horticulture, Gertrude Jekyll. Her complex blends of colour, leaf texture and form continue to inspire gardeners today and her own garden designs can still be enjoyed at Mustead Wood, Hestercombe in Somerset and Castle Drogo in Devon, to name a few. Today tech-giant Google marked her 174th birthday with a colour-rich Google Doodle (above). Here we've put together a timeline of her life and greatest achievements, plus a selection of the best Jekyll gardens to visit in the UK. 


Gertrude Jekyll timeline

1843 Born in London, 29 November.
1861-63 Studies at South Kensington School of Art, followed by travels in the Mediterranean.
1869 Meets William Morris and becomes a devotee of the Arts and Crafts movement.
1881 Jekyll’s first articles appear in William Robinson’s The Garden magazine. Asked to advise on Oaklands (now RHS Wisley).
1882 Buys 15 acres of heath and woodland. Begins Munstead Wood.
1889 Over tea with her neighbour, Henry Mangles, meets a young architect, Edwin Lutyens.
1891 Advised by a leading oculist to give up painting and embroidery. She helps Lutyens with his first commission; he begins work on a garden retreat for her.
1897 Moves into new Lutyens house at Munstead Wood.
1899 Publishes her first book, aged 56 – Wood and Garden, followed a year later by Home and Garden. More follow including the seminal Colour in the Flower Garden and Gardens for Small Country Houses.
1901-02 Creates influential Deanery garden for Edward Hudson.
1903 Jekyll and Lutyens begin work on Hestercombe, considered by many their masterwork.
1906-12 Works on Folly Farm, Berkshire.
1918-32 Jekyll continues to work on over 300 planting plans, rarely leaving Munstead as her sight deteriorates.
1932 Dies 8 December at Munstead Wood. Lutyens designs her memorial, inscribed ARTIST, GARDENER, CRAFTSWOMAN.


Jekyll gardens to visit

Barrington Court, Somerset – beautifully maintained Jekyll planting.
Castle Drogo, Devon – castle built by Lutyens with Jekyll garden.
Hestercombe, Somerset – the supreme Lutyens and Jekyll garden. Open daily except Christmas Day. 
Upton Grey Manor House, Hampshire – garden meticulously restored to Jekyll plans. Open by appointment. 


Timeline written by Ambra Edwards. This article was taken from a longer feature in the December 2012 issue of Gardens Illustrated (192). 





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