The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

Jekyll was one of the movers and shak­ers of the Arts and Crafts Move­ment be­tween the change of the 19th and 20th cen­turies.

A con­glom­er­a­tion of ar­ti­sans, crafts­men, gar­den­ers, ar­chi­tects, painters and just about any­one in a cre­ative mood. Some­what or­ganic, a bit anti in­dus­trial, with folksy crafts as part of the makeup.

The pe­riod ran across the Art Nou­veau pe­riod that also fea­tured the dec­o­ra­tive arts, plants and gar­dens.

Gertrude, among many other ac­com­plish­ments, es­pe­cially for a woman of her times, had a brother Wal­ter who was a good friend of Robert Louis Steven­son, who bor­rowed her fam­ily name for his fa­mous novel

She went on to other great adventures and de­signed over 500 gar­dens in Eng­land and teamed up with the fa­mous Sir Ed­wyn Lu­tyens, who was com­mis­sioned as a lead­ing ar­chi­tect to de­sign the mon­u­ments and memo­ri­als for the Im­pe­rial War Graves Com­mis­sion (in the 1960s it be­came the Com­mon­wealth War Graves Com­mis­sion).

Jekyll, known for her hor­ti­cul­ture skills at as­sem­bling plants, was re­ferred to as a gar­den “colourist”.

She de­signed the lay­out of the plant­ing schemes of those mon­u­men­tal war graves through­out Europe.

She de­vised a plan which in­sisted that the rose be­came the prin­ci­pal plant of ev­ery war ceme­tery and the pat­tern of plant­ing had a cadence or rhythm which was sub­tly re­peated and in­tended to re­mind the be­reaved vis­i­tor of each in­di­vid­ual soldier, and a lit­tle bit of his home. The prin­ci­ple of the cadence and lay­out ex­ists to­day.

Apart from those com­mis­sions and achieve­ments of a woman at that time, she also sup­ported the women’s suf­frage move­ment be­tween jobs.

Jekyll had a “third eye” when it came to see­ing how a gar­den would look at ma­tu­rity and could mix and match colours and where they were po­si­tioned for their best im­pact.

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