I enjoy the writing of Miss Jekyll just as much as I adore her garden designs. Her beautifully constructed sentences offer a dependable guide to the placement of flowers. Then there is the deep affection for her subject matter recounted as if to a friend while taking a break from labours in her workshop.
Oh to be that friend! Would she warm to me or be completely unimpressed as by the hopeful Edith Wharton. Miss Wharton had the misfortune of bringing along her young niece Beatrix Farrand who Gertrude thought was much more the ticket. Beatrix, of course, went on to be a trailblazer in American garden design.
Someone who includes a charming sketch of her cats into her published work is O.K. by me.
Image: Godalming Museum Collection
By which I mean if I feel a sense of compatibility with a writer I'm much more willing to trust their advice.
If I had to make a list of essential books for my garden library Colour in the Flower Garden by Gertrude Jekyll would be on it.
|2001 edition 1908 text with illustrations by|
Which set me to thinking, what books would be on your essential list?
P.S. I'm on the hunt for Gertrude Jekyll's Fairy Rose, more to come.
*Michael Pollan, review of The Sensuous Garden by Montagu Don, The New York Times Book Review, 7 Dec1997
^Jill Sinclair, review of The Unknown Gertrude Jekyll, selected and edited by Martin Wood, The Guardian, 17 June, 2006