StickPretty® Style Maven: Gertrude Jekyll & Her Gardens
Gertrude Jekyll's hundreds of Victorian Era gardens in the UK and US introduced the world to the English cottage style—a highly choreographed pas de deux of color and texture that appears breathtakingly natural. Jekyll created this genre by living and breating plant life: She bred new plants, traveled throughout Europe and into Africa collecting specimens along the way, and ran a garden center (one of the first) in Surrey. She wrote 13 books, published more than 1,000 articles, including 43 articles for Gardening Illustrated after the age of 86. Contributing to the literary world as well, it’s her family name that was immortalized by Robert Louis Stevenson, a good friend of her brother’s, in his famous novella chronicling the duality of man’s nature...
Impressions of Jekyll
She began her professional life as a painter so it’s understandable that the signature style of her gardens is a watercolor effect. She believed in sweeping visual vistas leading to unexpected views and rewarding surprises. In direct opposition to the typically structured spaces of the Victorians and her forebears in the gardening field,in general, she opted for a wider variety of less traditionally English plants and flowers chosen for the effects of both their foliage and bloom color. Despite losing her site in her mid-50s she was still able to flourish as a garden designer thanks to these loosely choreographed spaces.
No Flower is an Island
Jekyll appreciated both the architecture and raw land that mingled with her creations and integrated every last detail to create pockets of flora perfection. Most notably, by combining forces with famed architect and protége Edwin Lutyens she collaborated on dynamic domiciles that were worlds unto themselves. Further defining her aesthetic she designed garden tools and ornaments, flower baskets, embroideries, and vases. Her tireless work was for the cause dearest to her heart: “The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives.”
- Roxie Mae