Posted by: marymarthatours | February 4, 2010

The Manor House Upton Grey, A Restored Gertrude Jekyll Garden

Our September 2007 English Garden Tour included what proved to be a most memorable garden for all our travelers, the garden at the Manor House Upton Grey. For anyone who gardens and knows the passion involved in the daily hands-to-the-hoe work that is required, this garden is unbelievable. The results of dedication and hard work are absolutely breathtaking. Our travelers were in absolute awe.


The Manor House at Upton Grey

One needs a brief history to begin to understand this masterpiece that has been brought back to life. John and Rosamund Wallinger purchased the derelict Manor House at Upton Grey estate in 1984 with no knowledge of the garden’s history and very little gardening experience. Rosamund’s research revealed that Gertrude Jekyll, had designed the garden in 1908. I like to call Ms Jekyll, the Grand Dame of early 20th century English cottage and Arts and Crafts style garden design. Rosamund was able to obtain the original plans and over many years of methodical work recreated the garden to the original plans.

clip_image004 clip_image006

Flower beds designed by Gertrude Jekyll John Wallinger & guests

Rosamund was not with us for our private tour in 2007. The resident gardener, Phillip, who has been at the garden for several decades, was our guide. While he said, “the garden is not at its best now in September”, we were in awe at its beauty. There are several different areas to the 4 and a half acre garden: the wild garden, the formal garden, the kitchen garden, the nuttery, the orchard, and others. All are different, all are very special.

clip_image008 clip_image010

Philip describes the tennis lawn The pond in the Wild Garden

I am a quilter and prior to the tour, I made a small wall piece with flowers and foliage and a quote from Ms Jekyll. I left my creation as a gift for Rosamund. I feel very grateful to her for her huge effort and accomplishment. She sent me a most personal thank you. It was a small gift from one artist to another. We are both touched by the beauty of flowers and a lovely garden and appreciate Gertrude Jekyll as an artist and inspiration to us and others.


September color in the Manor House garden

Mary will soon be making a presentation to the Master Gardeners in Rochester, Minnesota, who are working to restore the gardens at the Mayowood Estate, the former home of the Charles Mayo family. They wanted inspiration and encouragement for their big undertaking. “Do I have a garden for you,” Mary told them.

The English Herb Garden Tour of July 2010 will again visit The Manor House at Upton Grey. Rosamund will be there; “I will not miss meeting you,” she has told us. Our tour will be even more amazing this year. Friendships grow in gardens!!

Site to check out:

Book written by Rosamund Wallinger about the garden and its restoration:

Gertrude Jekyll’s Lost Garden, The Restoration of an Edwardian Masterpiece

By Martha, M&M Tours



  1. […] The original gardens at Blackwell were designed by Thomas Mawson, noted landscape architect and garden designer. He lived in the Windemere area and ran a successful Landscape Nursery with his brothers there. A prolific designer, Mawson’s gardens can be found in many parts of Britain, in Europe, and in Canada. I am convinced that the garden he designed for his brother’s house, Shrublands, which was pictured in the 1907 issue of the Studio Magazine, was at least part of the inspiration for the garden at the home of the Studio’s publisher, Charles Holme, the Manor House at Upton Grey. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: