Gertrude Jekyll – Figures In History

To celebrate Gertrude Jekyll’s 174th birthday on November 29, 2017, Google’s homepage had beautiful green flowers and a doodle instead of its logo. Many people call her an icon of English garden history and a woman with many skills.

People remember her for the beautiful gardens she made in the UK, the US, France, and Europe. Her work is known for its bright colors and perfect placement of plants. She was one of the first people to learn how to make gardens.


Jekyll was born in the UK on November 29, 1843. She was the daughter of Julia Hammersley and Edward Joseph Jekyll. She lived in London with her family until she was five when they moved to Surrey, where she spent most of her early years.

At the age of 17, she signed up for a painting class. She was one of the first women John Ruskin taught. She liked the work of the impressionist painter J.M.W. Turner, who painted gardens.

She died on December 8, 1932, and was buried next to her brother Herbert Jekyll and his wife Agnes Jekyll in the churchyard of Busbridge Church.

Important Artwork

Hestercombe Garden is still her most famous and well-known flower garden. Before she took care of the garden, it was a mix of natural and man-made things.

Some people thought that the garden should be left to grow naturally, while others said that the gardener’s job is to get rid of plants that aren’t wanted and keep the garden in good shape.

Jekyll found a way to combine the two ideas by adding flower borders with elegant lines, shapes, structure, and natural effects.

She bought Munstead Wood between 1881 and 1883. It was close to her home. Over several years, she changed the land by letting the woods grow back and cutting down some of the younger trees.

She put together different kinds of plants differently, and long walks could reach the resulting forest along specific paths. People liked the garden so much that they tried copying the design in their homes.

Gardening Ideology

Gertrude Jekyll thought it was important to plant flowers that bloom simultaneously. She always wanted one plant to take the place of another.

She thought that the garden would always be alive if she set up the flowerbed dynamically and cyclically. If one type of plant died out, another would grow in its place without having to be replanted.

She said there was more to keep a garden alive than just planting different plants at different times. She insisted that gardeners go through “losses” before finding a balance that will keep the garden alive all year.


Jekyll was one of only two women to get a Victoria Medal of Honour from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1897. The medal of honor was given to her because of how hard she worked to make a creative garden using arts and crafts ideas. The Veitch Memorial Medal was later given to Gertrude.

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