Gertrude Jekyll at Hatchlands Park

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Born in 1843 in Mayfair, London, Gertrude Jekyll was one of Britain’s great garden designers. She was also an artist and writer but is probably best known for her partnership with the architect Edward Lutyens. They established a lifelong working relationship and Jekyll designed more than 300 gardens for Lutyens buildings.

She began to develop her great interest in botany, gardening and painting at an early age. After her father died in 1876, the family moved to Godalming and it was here that her interest in garden design began to develop.

Gertrude and Hatchlands

In 1900 Lord Rendel of Hatchlands commissioned Jekyll to design a small parterre garden to the south side of the house. The designs weren’t followed up, until 1914 when Hal Goodhart-Rendel asked Jekyll to return and draw up planting schemes.

She designed two schemes and Hal chose the second, for a June garden of peonies and roses inside herbaceous beds. It was planted using material from Jekyll’s own nursery at nearby Munstead Wood.

Restoration of a classic

The garden you see today was restored in the late 1980s and follows the original planting scheme as closely as possible. It was designed to look at its best in May and June when Lord Rendel was staying in the house.

At the centre of the garden, beds of peonies, roses and geraniums are the stars of the show. These central beds are surrounded by herbaceous borders full of irises, aquilegia, nepeta, foxgloves and more geraniums. We’ve also added a little additional planting to extend the season.

What’s new?

Three years ago, because they were past their best, we removed the old roses from the central beds. We replanted with penstemons which rested the soil and gave a change to the display.

This year we are returning to the original design and putting in fresh roses Old Blush, Duke of Edinburgh and Zephirine Drouhin. With loads of home made compost added this winter we hope the Gertrude Jekyll garden will provide an amazing display that its legendary designer would be proud of.