The Society's first outing for 2019 took place on the 25th April with a visit to Munstead Wood, Busbridge once the home of Gertrude Jekyll. With two groups of members to be shown around the garden in either the morning or afternoon we made our way up a small unmade up road leading to a very imposing house, designed by a young Edwin Lutyens. On arrival we were greeted by the head gardener who was to give us a guided tour. Having worked at the garden for sixteen years she explained how the garden worked for Miss Jekyll and how it has changed since 1932 when she died.
Gertrude Jekyll was living close by with her mother when plans were put in place to build a school on some land nearby; not being too keen on this idea she bought the land with a view to building a house and make a garden. Unusually the garden came first and was becoming well established before the house was finally built. This was not just a garden however, it became Gertrude testing ground for garden design and planting combinations, she also set up a nursery to grow the plants for the gardens she was designing for other people. She also ran a small florists shop from her home and made floral arrangements for society weddings locally and in London.
Having trained as an artist, her failing eyesight meant that she was unable to continue with her painting, but she turned to photography, developing the prints in a dark room which she had requested Lutyens to incorporate in her new house. Many of these pictures were reproduced in the magazines that she wrote articles for.
The Primrose garden was at its very best and the Spring Garden was a delight; other parts were planned to be at their best at different times of the year. The garden had at one time been neglected and many parts of it were put down to lawn or paved over, also large tracts of land were sold off after Miss Jekyll's death, so the overall garden became much smaller. It took much time and dedication to restore the garden but now much of it is as was originally intended and the visit was enjoyed by everyone.
The next event is the Summer Show on the 6th July. Please do come along either as an exhibitor to a visitor - all the details are in the Programme and Show Schedule available to all members. If you are not yet a member but would like to be, please contact our Membership Officer Marjorie Hall on 01428 712898 or come along to any of our meetings. These take place at the Headley Village Hall and are held on the third Thursday of the month Sept-March (except December) at 8pm.