Many of our modern ideas about plant combinations and flowing colour schemes can, in part, be attributed to the work and aesthetic of the celebrated gardener Gertrude Jekyll. Since Jekyll was designing and gardening over 100 years ago, it can be a challenge to find one of her designs still intact, let alone thriving.
But, hidden away down a winding and beautiful, Hampshire country lane lies Manor House, in the village of Upton Grey. The house originally belonged to Charles Holme, a leading light in the arts and crafts movement and the handsome red brick and tile house stands as a mellow backdrop to what is believed to be the most complete Jekyll garden in existence today.
If that’s not enough to whet your horticultural appetite, there’s also a wonderful story behind the garden’s restoration. When the current owners bought the property over 30 years ago, by their own admission they knew nothing about gardening, but as they uncovered the bones of Jekyll’s design the gardening bug bit hard and they began to grow their knowlegde as the garden came back to life. Locating the original plans and border designs at the University of California at Berkeley allowed the family to find the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle and recreate an Edwardian planting masterpiece.
Richly abundant borders over-flowing with roses, cardoons, daisies and every shade of herbaceous perennial make for an enchanting an immersive experience as you walk around. Hens and dogs amble lazily in the sun, and the family can usually be found continuing their hard work in the borders, happy to talk to visitors, give advice and share their story.
The Manor House at Upton Grey is only open during May, June and July, Monday to Friday 9am-4pm. Closed weekends and bank holidays. Entry costs £7.00 per person and includes an information leaflet. For groups of more than 20 afternoon tea or morning coffee will be included for £8.00 per person.
For more information on the garden, Jekyll and contacting the owners, see the website. www.gertrudejekyllgarden.co.uk