As soon as you walk out through the double doors of the Blythe Road Ticket Office, you are welcomed by a beautiful garden surrounding Astleham Manor Cottage. This garden was inspired by the work of Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932), garden designer and horticulturalist.
An array of pinks- Astleham Manor Garden in June 2015.
Astleham Manor Garden in June 2015.
It’s at this time of year that the garden really comes to life and this is what largely inspired me to visit a garden created by Jekyll in 1908 at The Manor House in the village of Upton Grey, Hampshire. At the time it was home to Charles Holme who was a well-known figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement. Restored by the current owners of the Manor House, it is open to visitors for a couple of months each year (http://www.gertrudejekyllgarden.co.uk/).
The Manor House, Upton Grey, Hampshire.
The gardens at Chiltern Open Air Museum are predominantly managed by a dedicated team of volunteers, although part of my role as Farm and Site Assistant (an 18-month traineeship funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund) involves some garden-based activities and I’m learning as I go along. The point I want to make is, you don’t have to know anything about flowers and gardening to enjoy them, you can just appreciate these gardens for what they are- masterpieces of living beauty.
A rose pergola and sunken garden bordered by hedgerows- The Manor House Upton Grey, Hampshire, July 2015. Designed by Gertrude Jekyll in 1908 and restored by the current owners, Rosamund and John Wallinger since 1984.
I think my favourite part of Jekyll’s garden is the use of dry stone walls because I love the freedom that the plants have to grow through the gaps in the stone and it just has a very warm and natural feel to it.
Hemerocallis fulva. The Manor House Garden, Upton Grey, July 2015.
Eryngium sp. The Manor House Garden, Upton Grey. July 2015.
The pond in the Wild Garden, The Manor House, Upton Grey, July 2015.
Writing and all photos by Rachael Maytum.