• Henley DFAS

The Odd Couple: The Gardens of Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll

Thursday 21st January 2021 Online at 10.30am and 2.30pm
Steven Desmond


Hestercombe House and Gardens, Somerset, designed by Edward Lutyens, created by Gertrude Jekyll

In the spring of 1889 the young Edwin Lutyens, later to become the most famous British architect of the 20th century, met the artist-gardener-craftswoman Gertrude Jekyll for the first time at an afternoon tea party in rural Surrey. She was a well-known eccentric, of whom her parents had despaired, and a generation older than the young man who communicated with the world through drawings and elaborate jokes.  Lutyens found in the daunting Miss Jekyll someone who empathised with his big ideas regarding design, detailing and distinctiveness.  She opened social doors to him, and he brought her experiments in garden making onto the national stage. 

(Please click on the blue print above to continue reading)

       Munstead Wood, Godalming, Surrey    Great Dixter, Northiam East Sussex       Les Bois des Moutiers Water Gardens                                                                                                                                                    Varengeville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France

Though they always maintained their independence from one another, their joint creations of house and garden became the talk of Edwardian society.  His ever-ingenious geometry, soft-furnished by her colour-graded herbaceous borders, his superb textures of terrace and pergola, enhanced with her signature plantings, set a standard of excellence which has been admired ever since.  As individuals, they were interesting, curious, isolated: together they proved irresistible.

The Salutation House and Gardens, Sandwich, Kent

Steven is an independent landscape consultant specalising in historical gardens and architecture.  He lectures at the Universities of Bristol and Oxford and is a specialist tour leader in Britain, Ireland, France, Germany and Italy.  He is a writer and broadcaster on historic gardens.  His book, "Gardens of the Italian Lakes", is published by Francis Lincoln.