It's International Women's Day on 8th March 2022. Lazy Flora was started by a woman, is mostly run by women, and serves a lot of women, so this is something close to our hearts.
There have been many women throughout history who have created and owned some of our most famous gardens. However, before the 20th century it was almost impossible for any woman to train and become a professional horticulturist or garden designer, regardless of her social background. Here, we wanted to shine a light on three influential women in horticultural history with legacies that are still enjoyed today.
Gertrude Jekyll 1843 – 1932
Jekyll is one of the most legendary green-thumbs in the history of gardening. She was a horticulturist and landscape gardener who was an expert in planting design and had a real talent for using plants in the landscape. She designed some 400 gardens across the UK, Europe, and America and even to this day, her influence on garden design and landscaping persists.
She is best known for creating huge and beautiful herbaceous borders using multidimensional approaches to planting, and colour schemes that look like a piece of impressionist art. She came to gardening relatively late in her life but was prolific in her designs and also wrote some 15 books and more than 2,000 articles for magazines such as The Garden and Country Life.
Sadly, after World War II, many of Jekyll’s gardens fell into disuse, however there are some that are still enjoyed today such as Munstead Wood in Surrey.
This pink rose was named after Jekyll.
Marianne North 1830-1890
North was an English Victorian biologist, botanical artist and all round BADASS!
She is famous for her plant and landscape paintings, foreign travels and new plant discoveries. She painted over 800 pieces and visited 17 countries on 6 continents in 14 years, all whilst travelling alone in Victorian dress. Travelling solo as a woman in the 1800’s was unheard of and dangerous.
In 1881 she offered her paintings to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where she has her own gallery still on display today. It is said to be the only permanent solo exhibition by a female artists in Britain.
North travelled around the world alone painting plants in their natural environment, which was controversial at the time. Many of her paintings were created from a hut in the depths of forests and jungles. North’s paintings were especially important at a time before photography was a practical option for recording plants with scientific accuracy.
Beth Chatto 1923-2018
Chatto was an English plantswoman, garden designer and author, and one of the most influential horticulturalists of the past 50 years.
She wrote several books about gardening, her world famous garden in Essex started out as an overgrown wasteland, which she turned into an inspiring and sustainable informal garden.
Her principle of placing the right plant in the right place has been hugely influential globally, establishing her guide to better and more environmentally friendly gardening techniques.
Chatto shared her love and knowledge for gardening right up to her passing in 2018.
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