Garden Inspiration: Gertrude Jekyll’s Bulb Garden

gertrude coverWhat inspires your garden designs? The garden you grew up with? A garden you’ve visited in stories or real life? Mary Hockenberry Meyer, grass guru at the University of Minnesota, feels inspiration when she visited the gardens of famed designer Gertrude Jekyll (pronounced Jee-kull) in England.

That inspiration led to an article in the current issue of Northern Gardener. We call it Gardening Like Gertrude, and in it, Mary describes a spring border that Gertrude Jekyll designed for her large home garden at Munstead Woods. Jekyll is known for her color theory and color combinations. The spring border she designed features bulbs in shades of red, rose, blue, yellow and white mixed with ferns. While some of Jekyll’s selections are not hardy to our area, most are, Mary says. Among the plants in the border are bergenia, rose-colored hellebore, erythronium, scilla, chionodoxa, puschkinia, muscari, crocus, hyacinth and narcissus. Those that are not hardy can be replaced by other perennials that follow the color scheme. For instance, a white bleeding heard — this is the gorgeous one photographed by Tracy Walsh for our cover — fits beautifully in the border and is very hardy to our area.

During this cold time of the year, we gardeners cannot help but dream of what our gardens will look like next year. With guides like Gertrude (and Mary Meyer!), it’s hard to go wrong.

What is the most inspiring garden you have ever visited?

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