In the Footsteps of Gertrude Jekyll
Over the last hundred years few would doubt the great influence Gertrude Jekyll had on garden design. In her lifetime Jekyll was a prolific garden designer creating over 400 gardens; she was a plantswoman extraordinaire, painter and writer, however she is perhaps best remembered for her association with the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and together they left an unrivalled gardening legacy.
Our tour stretches across the south of England: from the scenic West Country to the Home Counties of Kent, Sussex and Surrey – where she lived for most of her life.
We start our tour at the private garden of Durmast House, Hampshire, which was originally designed by Gertrude Jekyll and comprises a formal rose garden, Victorian rockery and delightful orchard. We shall also visit Knightshayes, with a unique collection of plants, and Hestercombe, perhaps Jekyll and Lutyens’ most famous collaboration. Our last visit in the southwest is East Lambrook Manor, recognised throughout the world as the ‘Home of English Cottage Gardening’.
Heading eastwards, a highlight of this holiday will be the rare chance to visit Munstead Wood, Jekyll’s home for almost 40 years. We also have the chance to enjoy looking round the distinctive garden rooms at Loseley Park, and nestled in the Sussex countryside we have the chance to visit Gravetye Manor, the home of William Robinson, with whom Gertrude Jekyll collaborated on plants and writings, and which today is considered one of the most historically significant gardens in England. We also visit the nearby garden of Vann with its woodland and water gardens, while at the privately owned Manor House near Upton Grey, we see a Jekyll garden originally laid out in 1908 and now authentically restored to its former glory.
Coach Bays on Tothill Street, Westminster
Outside the Railway Station
Please note that all timings are approximate and subject to change. Final timings and pick-up points will be confirmed with your joining instructions approximately 10 days prior to departure.
£1,495 (including offers)
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Deposit: £125 Single supplement: £395
Day 1 -
We depart from our designated pick-up points and head towards the village of Burley in Hampshire. Here, we find the private garden at Durmast House, designed originally designed by Gertrude Jekyll and has been recently restored by the owners. We are greeted by them for a brief talk of the history of the garden and some light refreshments before we continue with a tour. The garden is home to hot and cool coloured borders, formal rose garden that is edged with lavender and a long herbaceous border. The garden also features many old trees, a Victorian rockery and delightful orchard. Later in the afternoon we depart towards the town of Yeovil in Somerset and our hotel.
|Hotel||Lanes Hotel, Yeovil|
Day 2 -
This morning we visit Hestercombe, one of Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens’ greatest masterpieces. The garden is home to a round pool in a circular walled garden filled with wintersweet and roses, a Dutch garden of lamb's ears, lavender and the most beautiful orangery of the 20th century. Everywhere there are details of design and plantings from which even the most experienced gardener can learn. Here, we enjoy a tour with the head gardener.
Laster, we proceed to Knightshayes, a Grade I listed Victorian country house designed by William Burgess. The formal and woodland gardens encompass one of the most varied plant collections in the country with over 1,200 species and offer areas of interest throughout the year.
|Hotel||Lanes Hotel, Yeovil|
|Meals included||Breakfast, Dinner|
Day 3 -
Today, after breakfast, we visit East Lambrook, near South Petherton in Somerset, recognised throughout the world as the ‘Home of English Cottage Gardening’, having been created in the 1940s, 50s and 60s by the late gardening icon, Margery Fish. Mrs Fish entered the world of gardening late in her life and as a novice she showed a quite brilliant talent for effortlessly mixing the everyday plants with the rarer species, with an eye for colour, texture and form. Her informal style of planting was unique and her work as an outstanding plantswoman, writer and journalist has made her one of the most important influences on gardening in the 20th century. Indeed, today’s mixed borders are a direct descendant of the style Margery Fish created here at East Lambrook Manor. Now visitors can continue to enjoy the gardens while also visiting the famous ‘Margery Fish Plant Nursery’, which remains a place of pilgrimage for keen plant buyers. A specially designed display bed showcases an extensive and nationally recognised collection of hardy geraniums. Our visit we includes an introductory talk with the gardening team on its history.
We later continue to Surrey to our hotel for the next three nights. Time this afternoon is at your leisure.
Day 4 -
After breakfast, we begin the day with a visit to Munstead Wood, near Godalming, which is where Gertrude Jekyll lived until her death in 1932 and was the scene of her highly influential garden experiments and ideas. The garden today is mainly woodland with many oaks, Scots pines, silver birches and chestnuts. South of the house a lawn spreads out, from which the Broad Walk and other paths lead into the woodland. Here Miss Jekyll planted many rhododendrons, narcissi, a lily walk and an azalea clearing, while the garden to the north-west was more formal in character.
This afternoon is at your leisure to spend some time relaxing.
Day 5 -
We begin today with a guided garden tour at Loseley Park, a highlight of which is the Walled Garden, an extensive area divided into ‘rooms’, each with its own rare planting scheme and personality. The Flower Garden has a maze of pathways and secluded corners, whereas the White Garden boasts spectacular, showy, blooms with subtle, silver and grey foliage.
In the afternoon, we will visit the gardens at Gravetye Manor. Gravetye was home to William Robinson, one of the greatest gardeners of all time, who bought the manor in 1884 and it was his home until he died, well into his nineties in 1935. It was at Gravetye he realised many of his ideals for the creation of The English Natural Garden, of which he was a pioneer. The variety and charm of the arrangement of trees and shrubs, the landscaping and the layout of different types of gardens at Gravetye is still his creation and memorial. Post war and until the late 1950s Gravetye's gardens saw general neglect and became even more wild! In 1958, a pioneering hotelier, Peter Herbert came to Gravetye and established one of Britain's first country house hotels. Over 40 years later the gardens saw enormous revival of their fortunes, and projects such as the restoration of the kitchen garden and peach house were completed. After a look around the garden, we have an exquisite private dinner experience - a real highlight of the tour.
Day 6 -
Today, following breakfast, we will visit the garden at Vann, which incorporates Gertrude Jekyll’s 1911 water garden. Other notable features include an old cottage garden, a pergola, a quarter-acre pond, mixed borders and island beds and a crinkle-crankle wall.
Following this we will then visit the garden at Upton Grey Manor House, which is believed to be the most comprehensive and authentic Jekyll Garden in existence - a living museum of the Jekyll design. On a 4.5-acre sloping, chalky site she designed one of her most beautiful gardens, which includes many features of a typical Jekyll Garden, but on a rather smaller scale than many of her commissions. To the north-west of the house stands the Wild Garden, planted with wildflowers such as buttercups, meadowsweet, oxlips and wood anemones, and thickets of wild roses – a perfect scene of an informal English kind. In contrast, to the south-east is the Formal Garden where, following a strict geometric outline, Jekyll designed a rose garden and typical herbaceous borders. Here colours run in drifts from cool (blues and whites) to hot (reds and oranges) and out to cool again. Outside the protective yew hedging lie the nuttery, orchard, kitchen garden, stable cottage and cottage beds. The whole is faithfully restored according to the plans that Jekyll prescribed. Here, we can also enjoy some light refreshments and home baked treats.
Following our visit here we return to our original pick-up points.
Tour dates & prices
Included in your cost:
- Meals - as per the itinerary
- Comfortable coach travel throughout
- All visits as outlined in the itinerary
- Services of a professional tour manager
|Tour Departure||Tour ID||Departure date||Return Date||Guided by||Price||Deposit||Single supplement||Offer||Availability|
|1 June 2023||BJEK230601||1 June 2023 (Thursday)||6 June 2023 (Tuesday)||Michael Gill||£1,570
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