Gertrude Jekyll-Legendary Figure

WELCOME to the 2014 #AtoZ Blog Challenge

Inspired By My Pinterest Boards:  This Year’s Category is GARDENING

images-1A painting from an iconic photograph of artist-gardener Gertrude Jekyll 1843-1932

Photographs of this substantial woman often show her gardening in long black skirts and blouses. I can’t imagine toiling away in the heat and dirt like that.  I get tickled when I think of the old joke about the man sitting on the top of the pole. Shouting up to him, someone asks, “How do you pee?” I’d like to ask this famous gardener a little more delicately, “How did you manage in those clothes?” In fact, Gertrude Jekyll more than managed, sought after as a garden designer in part because of her strong opinions on the color schemes she used in her designs, making a large contribution to the evolution of English gardening.

In her early years, Jekyll studied painting and had a fine reputation as an artist and craftswoman. Later, she took her artistic eye and cast it across the gardens she was associated with.  She contributed horticultural articles to magazines and was the author of at least a dozen books. I have six of them among my treasured garden books.

I had no trouble deciding what I would write about when it comes to the letter J. Paying tribute to this famous English woman gardener is part of my ‘English Gardening thing!’ Wouldn’t we all love to be remembered after we are gone for having influenced the lasting beauty of the world through our ideas and creativity.


Recommending Country House Gardenimages-3Recommending The Making of a Garden

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
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17 Responses to Gertrude Jekyll-Legendary Figure

  1. Marie Abanga says:

    Wow, I never knew of her so thanks Steph for sharing. Sure we all hope to leave a legacy behind, well I do 🙂
    an #atoz er at

  2. Rosie Amber says:

    Glad she is part of the tour, a very famous lady.

  3. Harliqueen says:

    She was a great designer and gardener, the gardens at Montacute House and Barrington Court were inspired by her (if I remember correctly), I was lucky enough to be a volunteer as a gardener at both places and the designs were spectacular. Can see why she was so popular 😀

    • I envy you your opportunities to volunteer in such historical gardens. I wish I could have talked to you before I wrote Greening of a Heart. You would have helped me with the Henry Bernard character. Another connection to Jeykll coming with the letter L. Can you guess who? Come back when you can. I’ll meet you at the garden gate.

  4. wordstock16 says:

    I had heard of her but didn’t know anything about her. This was very interesting.

  5. vanillabean says:

    I stumbled into her by way of being fascinated by one of her gardens! Thank you for reminding me of her. I had been visiting my aunt in London, several years ago now, and was wandering aimlessly around downtown somewhere when I saw this lovely, interesting little garden that drew me in. I discovered it was a gardening museum, with a Gertrude Jekyll garden. I had never heard of her before that, but she was quite an interesting woman. No idea the name of it or where in London it was though. I have her book Home and Garden: Notes and Thoughts Practical and Critical of a Worker in Both. I will have to pull it out and read a bit of it again.

  6. It’s amazing what discomforts women had to put up with. But I wonder why she chose black–mourning, perhaps?

    Thanks for visiting my blog earlier. It’s nice to meet you 🙂

  7. Great post! I like learning about new people.

  8. It’s always so interesting to read about professionals who were developing their work long before there was all this access to knowledge and visual inspiration, like we have now via internet. The link between painting to garden design makes sense. In a garden you use nature to paint, in a way (we’ll, I don’t personally, our garden is too tiny for that and I don’t make time for it). My mother does, though, she loves gardening, both the planning and the work itself. Thank you for an interesting post!

  9. mel says:

    I recently finished reading The Signature of All Things and never knew the world of botanics could be so interesting. Love your theme for the challenge!

  10. I could comment on every post in your A to Z up to your latest post about peonies! Something in each one resonated with me. Here I’d just like to say that the garden which Jekyll created on Lindisfarne is well worth visiting. Lindisfarne itself is a wonderful place. I have only been there once, but I’d jump at the chance to go again. Sue

    • I have a great interest in Celtic spirituality and have alway wanted to visit Lindisfarne. Alas, I think that time has passed me by. I didn’t know Jekyll had left her mark there too. Wish I could have carried your bags on that trip in order to see what you saw. Come back when you can to the blog. I’ll meet you at the garden gate.

  11. Kristen says:

    I’m checking out those books now. They look wonderful!

    Random Musings from the KristenHead — J is for Jumping Cats and Dogs!

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