01 June 2023

Gertrude Jekyll’s home bought by National Trust

01 June 2023

The National Trust has bought the “internationally significant” Surrey home of influential gardener Gertrude Jekyll.

The charity is raising funds to “restore and reimagine” the 11-acre Munstead Wood, near Godalming, where Ms Jekyll made a name for herself in garden design until her death in 1932.

The estate surrounds an arts and crafts house showcasing the plantswoman’s collaboration with architect Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Ms Jekyll, the first woman to be awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Victoria Medal of Honour, once described her garden at Munstead Wood as “my workshop, my private study and place of rest”.

Some of her original planting survives at Munstead Wood, while the formal paths, walls and pond designed by Sir Edwin remain intact.

Ms Jekyll’s rock garden was recently rediscovered buried under layers of garden debris.

She transformed horticultural practices and gardens across the country, introducing more than 30 new varieties of plants collected across Europe, and inspired others to take up gardening through her books and over 1,000 articles.

A spokesperson for the National Trust said it bought Munstead Wood in a private sale with support from the Government.

“The Trust will now work with the community and partners to find the best ways to open it to visitors, but this will be dependent on raising funds to help restore and reimagine the garden and house,” they said.

Hilary McGrady, director general of the charity, said it had already received “generous” donations.

She added: “Jekyll changed the way we think about garden design and created more gardens than ‘Capability’ Brown and Humphry Repton combined.

“It’s difficult to overstate the importance of this seminal garden.”

Andy Jasper, head of gardens and parklands at the Trust, said that Ms Jekyll’s work at Munstead Wood had a “huge influence on garden design and planting not just in Britain but internationally”.

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