Beautiful Cottage Garden in England: William Robinson and Gravetye Manor
Gravetye Manor estate can be considered one of the most historically influential gardens in England, as it was once home to the pioneering Victorian horticulturist, William Robinson.
Until today, I hadn’t seen any of W. Robinson’s gardens. I found this wonderful website and I wanted to share it! For those who love ornamental gardening, there’s plenty to read and see.
William Robinson lived to the age of 96. He was an Irish gardener of the Victorian era who revolutionized English gardening. During his time, ornate Victorian parterres, whimsical tropical plants grown in greenhouses, and pseudo-Italian gardens were in fashion.
However, Robinson came up with the idea of mixed herbaceous borders using local perennial plants, alpine gardens, and dense plantings. His innovative approach to gardening gained popularity through his journals and several books, particularly “The Wild Garden” and “The English Flower Garden.”
Robinson worked with Gertrude Jekyll for 50 years. Through his books and journals, Robinson became a popular and prosperous figure, eventually purchasing a house and 200 acres of land (0.8 square kilometers). His diary of planting and tending was published as “Gravetye Manor: Twenty Years’ Work round an Old Manor House” in 1911. Ultimately, the gardens surrounding the manor covered 4 square kilometers.
The majority of the estate was woodland, but Robinson planted scillas, cyclamens, and daffodils among the trees. Closer to the house, he had several flower borders, and he planted red valerian everywhere, allowing it to naturally spread along the paths and stairs.
Robinson annually planted thousands of daffodils, including 100,000 daffodils along one of the lakes in 1897. He had an oval-shaped walled vegetable garden, a heather garden, and a water garden with one of the largest collections of water lilies in Europe.