GARDENER OF DELIGHTS
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.