Edwardian (Gertrude Jekyll) Herbaceous Borders

Based on designs by Gertrude Jekyll, these colour-themed borders offer a glimpse of life in the Edwardian era.

“The best purpose of a garden is to give delight and refreshment of mind, to soothe, to refine and lift up the heart in a spirit of praise and thankfulness”

Gertrude  Jekyll

Jekyll’s gardens were the height of fashion in the early twentieth century. Her careful choice of plants, drift planting and colour theories have left a lasting heritage.

The Arts and Crafts movement of the late nineteenth century also had an affect on gardening; moving-away from ostentatious bedding displays and towards natural plantings. Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) a talented painter, photographer, designer and craftswoman; was much influenced by Arts & Crafts principles and some believe her to have been one of the most influential and historical partnerships of that movement,  thanks to her association with Sir Edwin Lutyens, for whose projects she created numerous landscapes.

Jekyll was one of the first of her profession to take into account the colour, texture, and experience of gardens as the prominent authorities in her designs, and she was a life-long fan of plants of all genres. Her theory of how to design with colour was influenced by the painter J.M.W. Turner, by impressionism and by the theoretical colour wheel.

Jekyll’s eyesight had a profound effect on her attitude to plants. On the one hand, the brilliant plantswoman inspected them at close range, taking-in their intricate form, texture and scent – and on the other hand; she grouped them carefully, planting in long drifts. Those interweaving layers consequently blend or contrast, to form a colour picture, best appreciated at a distance.

Jekyll’s approach has much to offer organic gardeners of today:

  • Good soil preparation gets the plants off to a healthy start
  • Mulching with organic matter maintains fertility, retains moisture and suppresses weeds
  • Use a range of plant types. The mixture of shrubs, herbaceous perennials and annuals provides a varied habitat for garden friends
  • The diversity of planting discourages the build-up of pests found in mass plantings of a single species
  • Plants are used in situations which suit their natural habit, either in the woodland, or in the open border

Original Garden Design: Caroline Holmes

Some, or all of the above text may have originally been published by HDRA/Garden Organic (www.gardenorganic.org.uk) and is reproduced here, with their kind permission.