Posted by: marymarthatours | August 8, 2011

Gertrude Jekyll & Edwin Lutyens in Ireland


Heywood Gardens, Ireland

One of the gardens that Martha and I are most excited about visiting on our upcoming Gardens of Ireland Tour is a small garden that is very “off the beaten path”. It’s Heywood Gardens near Ballinakill, the only garden in Ireland that was designed by the outstanding garden partnership of Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens.

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Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens

Readers of our blogs have probably figured by now out that Martha and I are Gertrude Jekyll “groupies”. We think she was a truly remarkable woman. Our first Jekyll/Lutyens garden was Hestercombe House in Somerset, which we visited in 1995 and again on our 2007 Magical English Gardens Tour. In 1999, we got to Lindisfarne in Northumberland, where we saw the tiny walled garden that Gertrude designed when Lutyens renovated Lindisfarne Castle in the Arts & Crafts style.

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Hestercombe House garden and Lindisfarne Castle garden

But our all-time favorite Jekyll garden (this one without benefit of Lutyens) is the restored masterpiece at the Manor House, Upton Grey in Hampshire, England, which we have visited on our garden tours and as the guests of Rosamund and John Wallinger, the dedicated couple who brought this garden back to life.


The Jekyll garden at the Manor House, Upton Grey

Now we’ll have another opportunity to see the work of the amazing Jekyll and Lutyens twosome. Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens were an unlikely pair to have entered such a productive and creative partnership. Jekyll was 26 years older than Lutyens when they met in 1889. He was just 21 years old and starting on an architectural career that was to span more than 50 years. Gertrude Jekyll was already established as a horticulturist and garden designer. They hit it off and began the collaboration which combined Lutyens’ structured and formal brick and stone architecture and Jekyll’s exuberant, flowing, and informal herbaceous plantings. Together Jekyll and Lutyens created the phenomenon known as “A Lutyens house in a Jekyll garden”.

Edwin Lutyens worked on a number of projects in Ireland, including designing two hunting lodges and renovating and expanding several stately homes. In addition to the structures at these sites, he also designed or reworked the gardens. His most famous garden in Ireland, however, is the Irish National War Memorial Gardens in Dublin, dedicated “to the memory of the 49,400 Irish soldiers who gave their lives in the Great War, 1914-1918”.


Irish National War Memorial Garden, Dublin

The Lutyens/Jekyll garden at Heywood, near Ballinakill, was commissioned in 1906 by then owner Colonel Sir William Hutchinson Poe. The house and a landscaped park had been at Heywood since the 18th century, but Poe wanted to add a garden in the Italian style. Lutyens and Jekyll designed the new garden near the house in a series of compartments culminating in an enclosure with a circular pool surrounded by terraces, a high stone wall with Lutyens’ signature porthole windows, and a stone pavilion. Although the house burned down in 1950, the Lutyens/Jekyll garden continues to be well maintained by Heritage Ireland. The last line on a plaque at Heywood Gardens seems to me to perfectly summarize the talents that Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens brought to this space. I can’t wait to see it.


Inscription at Heywood Gardens

(by Mary)

Photo credits:

1. Heywood Gardens: copyright by Liam Hughes and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License 2.0

2. Lindisfarne Castle: copyright by Ann Young and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License 2.0

3. Manor House garden: photo by Sue H. and used by permission

4. Heywood Gardens inscription: copyright by Kevin Higgins and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License 2.0.



  1. Hi there,
    another example of the Lutyens / Jekyll partnership in Ireland was the ‘castle garden’ at Lambey Castle on Lambey Island, the seat of Baron Revelstroke (Baring) ca.1910. Although Jekyll never visited in person, Lutyens was a close friend of the family and is known to have visited.
    best wishes,

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