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25 October 201820th Century Gardens

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20th Century Gardens James Bolton Thursday 25 October 2018

Across three lectures, renowned expert James Bolton will guide us through the evolution of garden design in the 20th Century and explore the increasing role of women in horticulture.

First lecture (10:15 – 11:15): Lutyens & Jekyll and The Arts and Crafts Gardens

The last two decades of the 19th century reverberated with the row between William Robinson and Reginald Blomfield as to the pre-eminence in the garden of the architect or the gardener. At a stroke, the problem was solved by the partnership between Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens, so that a house by Lutyens with a garden by Jekyll became an Edwardian ideal.

Together they designed gardens with a strong architectural background, softened by luxuriant planting in the natural style advocated by Robinson. Their partnership thrived in the brash, new-moneyed Edwardian era, but the First World War ended that golden afternoon and as Lutyens became distracted by the creation of New Delhi and Miss Jekyll, almost blind, became more and more reluctant to leave Munstead Wood, so the gardens they designed together were fewer and farther between.

Second Lecture (12:00 – 1:00): Informal and Formal Gardens

Two styles of gardening run through the 20th Century, each springing from the influence of Lutyens and Jekyll. Informal gardens, from Hidcote to Great Dixter, where a passion for plants is the key following the centuries old English obsession with collecting plants and growing them well. Formal structured gardens, whose history runs from Sir George Sitwell’s Italianate garden at Renishaw to the contemporary post-modern gardens created by Geoffrey Jellicoe, Charles Jencks and Ian Hamilton-Finlay.

Third Lecture (2:30 – 3:30): Twentieth Century Women Gardeners

Gardening in 1900 was, for the majority of women, a polite affair involving little more than dead-heading roses and instructing the gardening staff. Great changes were made in the rôle of women in horticulture by great gardeners like Ellen Wilmot, Margerie Fish, Vita Sackville-West and Nancy Lancaster. By 2000, designers such as Penelope Hobhouse, Arabella Lennox-Boyd and a whole host of more or less well known, but no less professional, women are creating wonderful and challenging gardens.