Sunday, January 24, 2016

Book Review: Gertrude Jekyll at Munstead Wood

Gertrude Jekyll at Munstead Wood by Judith Tankard & Martin Wood
Published by Pimpernel Press LTD
Many of you know that Color Outside the Lines started as a garden blog. If you didn't know that, don't worry - it's been a long time since I posted about my own gardening experiences. Having no clue about gardening, or the climate and growing seasons here in New York, I, bright-eyed and bushy tailed, took to the dirt in my old garden and started planting. It evolved as it grew, and eventually, I grew out of it, leaving the garden, the house, all of it behind. Even so, my love for the garden has not suffered, and I find myself ever more interested in the architecture and horticulture behind gardens that are well designed from the very beginning.
That's why I have been so captivated by the lasting work of Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932), the brilliant and influential British horticulturist, garden designer, artist, and writer. She created over 400 gardens in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States, and wrote over 1,000 articles for various magazines. Books about her gardens have been written for decades, including Gertrude Jekyll at Munstead Wood which is back in reprint after nearly 20-years!
Munstead Wood is the name of Gertrude Jekyll's private estate in Surrey, England, designed by architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens. Together, Lutyens and Jekyll worked on numerous projects, but none were as beautiful as Munstead Wood (in my opinion). Let's take a look at some photos of Munstead Wood:
Here is a photo of Munstead Wood from 1921. The Arts and Crafts style house was built in 1897 to compliment the gardens that Jekyll had been creating since 1882. While alive, Gertrude maintained the 15-acres of gardens with the help of 14 full-time gardeners! Since her death, the original 15-acres has been divided into 7 parcels, the largest remaining being the site of the main house and gardens.

A more recent photo of Munstead Wood shows the beauty of the gardens and landscape, and how the architect of the home was thoughtful of the design approach, keeping the gardens and woodlands in mind. Gertrude Jekyll at Munstead Wood is a history of gardening, landscape design, horticulture, and a true love and passion for gardening. The book includes photos that had not been seen or published before of the gardens in their working phases and how they look today, and narrates the life of Gertrude, not only as an avid garden lover, but also a savvy businesswoman. Without further ado, let's take a look at current day Munstead Wood, Jekyll's masterpiece:

The book is a fantastic collection of history, comprised in writings, photographs, and detailed accounts from those who knew Jekyll and her remarkable ability. If you're a lover of the garden, history, architecture, or just all things Anglophile, I believe that Gertrude Jekyll at Munstead Wood is a book you should add to your must have list. Take a closer look and grab your copy via the amazon link below: 


  1. I surely can't miss it, thank you for your advice !!!
    Have a wonderful week

  2. You photos and article both are spanking . So thanks .

  3. Munstead Wood looks beautiful. I would love to own a garden and home like this. The gardens look like something out of a dream, especially the one with the path in the middle with the flower bushes on the side. I can picture running through there. I love English gardens the most. They look very natural and I want one.

    Natacha Davies @ Acer Landscape Services