Tour of Gertrude Jekyll Garden Restorations in S. Hampshire

Saturday 18 September 2004

Leonard R. Guthrie rebuilt Townhill Park House for Lord Swaythling around 1910. Miss Jekyll was employed to provide planting plans for the two rose gardens and herbaceous borders, and three years later for the sunken garden and pergola.

The house is now a school and the planting is being restored by volunteers, one of whom, Rosaleen Wilkinson, showed us around. Although Miss Jekyll’s original painting has been adapted for maintenance reasons the volunteers have carefully retained her idea of colour swathes.

We moved on to the War Memorial in Southampton which was shown to us by Chris Knowles. He helped us to appreciate its many subtle points.

Finally, after a pleasant lunch in the New Forest we made our way to Durmast House. This was the first garden I had seen drawn up by Miss Jekyll without an architect to lay out the structure and it was a most innovative form. Again the planting had gone but Mr and Mrs Daubeny who own the house had gone to California to see the plans in the original and had re-laid the garden accordingly.

The spirit of both gardens is alive and a pleasure to see.

Many thanks to Jane Balfour for organising a wonderfully informative day.