I’m staying away from most headlines out of news exhaustion, so today I’m posting about Gertrude Jekyll (no relation to Robert Lewis Stevenson’s fictional doctor).

Gertrude, born 174 years ago, was THE garden designer of her age,

Born in 1843, Jekyll was a British horticulturist, garden designer, artist and writer who created more than 400 gardens in Europe in the US and wrote 15 books and more than 1,000 magazine articles on garden design. To honor Jekyll, described as “a premier influence in garden design,” Google created a lush and colorful landscape doodle Wednesday to celebrate Jekyll’s contribution on her 174 birthday.

Her own house, Munstead Wood, has a glorious garden you can read about in Gertrude Jekyll at Munstead Wood, which is back in reprint after twenty years (and will make a great holiday or housewarming gift).

The house at Munstead Wood was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who also designed the Lutyens bench (see photo on the right). Jekyll and Lutyens collaborated frequently over the years, and she had started the 15-acre garden before he designed the Arts and Crafts style house in 1897.

Gertrude had fourteen full-time gardeners doing the maintenance.

My first trip tp England, nearly forty years ago, was a pilgrimage of sorts to locales related to Arts and Crafts, William Morris, and the Pre-Raphaelites. I didn’t make it to Munstead Wood, but did enjoy other breathtakingly beautiful Jekyll gardens.

In case you wonder, I lack gardening skills and became even more discouraged some 25 years or so ago. I bought a dozen hosta for a shady part of the back yard and enthusiastically spent all day preparing the clay soil and planting them.

The next morning I looked out the window and they were gone.

The deer had eaten them down to the roots.

Gertrude and her fourteen needed a 10′ fence.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog