Gertrude Jekyll and Gardening
"... the lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives. I rejoice when I see any one, and especially children, inquiring about flowers, and wanting gardens of their own, and carefully working in them. For the love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies, but always grows and grows to an enduring and ever-increasing source of happiness."
(Gertrude Jekyll, Wood and Garden)
Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) aimed for 'beautiful effect' and had a lasting effect on gardening. In a way familiar to artists and designers in other walks of life she used areas of garden and woodland to create large features within which 'lesser beautiful incidents' could be arranged. These arrangements were meant to place plants, trees and grass in such a way that they 'look happy and at home, and make no parade of conscious effort.'
She goes on to say:
"I try for beauty and harmony everywhere, and especially for harmony of colour. A garden so treated gives the delightful feeling of repose, and refreshment, and purest enjoyment of beauty, that seems to my understanding to be the best fulfilment of its purpose; while to the diligent worker its happiness is like the offering of a constant hymn of praise. For I hold that the best purpose of a garden is to give delight and to give refreshment of mind, to soothe, to refine, and to lift up the heart in a spirit of praise and thankfulness."
Jekyll recognized the range of pleasures and interests which interest practical gardeners. Some collect plants, obsessively in a few cases. Others are interested in designing gardens, possibly delving into the mysteries of rock gardening, ponds, bog gardens, ornaments, terraces and ornaments. Still others focus on growing plants and fruits for the kitchen, perhaps to guarantee their own 'organic' source of food, or to save money. Certainly fresh products from the kitchen garden have infinitely better taste and texture than their supermarket equivalents.
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