Garden History

Formal Garden

Jekyll's Design

The Wild Garden


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The Restoration






The Tennis & Bowling Lawns 1984 & 1998

Very few of Jekyll's original plants had survived the century. In the Wild Garden we found daffodils and some trees. In the Formal Garden to the East of the house we found Fuchsia Riccartonii, Acanthus spinosus, Corydalis ochroleuca, Hemerocallis fulva, paeonies and Hartstongue ferns. In May 1984, copies of the original plans arrived from the Reef Point Collection in California, where most surviving Jekylliana is held; they are dated 1908 and 1909. Work on clearing incorrect trees, weeds and digging out trenches for yew hedges began immediately. We sterilised and cleared the soil, then stripped away grass/moss surfaces in the formal garden before double digging and feeding with well rotted manure.
Plants and seeds were ordered for 1985 delivery. Wherever possible we grew plants from seed. It is an accurate and cheap way of starting a garden. Plants with bulbs and corms were ordered, as were all shrubs, roses and the yew plants for hedging. Generally it was surprisingly easy to find Gertrude Jekyll's chosen plants and, if she specified only species, we referred to old garden books for her favourite cultivars. Gertrude Jekyll admired plants more for their collective effect in the border than for their rarity or individual beauty.
The search for plants was made easier by reference to the 'Plant Finder'. We have had tremendous support and encouragement from Hampshire Gardens Trust, Hampshire County Council, Penelope Hobhouse, Richard Bisgrove and other friends. Television, a great many newspapers, magazines, some books and radio have covered our progress from dereliction to today's restored garden. Progress has been methodical and fairly slow; the garden is still not completely mature and trees are certainly not fully grown, but we hope visitors enjoy this living museum of Gertrude Jekyll's plants and design.

The RoseLawn 1984 & 1998

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Entrance to the The Wild Garden 1984 & 1998

In 1984 we moved to the almost derelict house and garden at Upton Grey. All had been sadly neglected. We found 46 burst water pipes in the house and the garden was over-run with weeds and brambles. But luckily, through neglect, no constructive damage had been done, no swimming pool or hard tennis court built. The dry stone walls had collapsed but their Purbeck stones were still there, as were gentle shallow steps, so typical of Gertrude Jekyll's eye for proportion.

"The love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies, but grows to the enduring happiness that the love of gardening gives."
Gertrude Jekyll