the June garden

Here’s a fold-out map of The June Garden around “The Hut” in Gertrude Jekyll’s garden at Munstead Wood.

The Hut was what most people would call a palatial mansion but people see and experience the world in different ways. Especially, I think, when you have the wherewithal to build a much larger house, and then reserve your hut for things like a potpourri factory or guest house.

(And incidentally, her family pronounced their last name to rhyme with “treacle”. Robert Louis Stevenson was friendly with the family and named a well-known character after them.)

Not being a complete ding-dong, I wanted a June garden, not to mention a hut, when we moved into this house, but somehow it didn’t work out. Maybe because I took Henry Mitchell’s dictum to heart: “Avoid any show of wealth. This is marvelously easy for many of us.”

It was for us, and, anyway, I came to realize that I didn’t have quite the climate that would allow me to grow anything I wanted, with climbing roses scenting the air, and so on. I planted a few roses, then far too many more, then I dug out most of them.

A few years ago I came across a book featuring some autochrome photographs of the garden at Munstead Wood, taken shortly before or after what everyone then hopefully called The Great War. Simply put, these are jaw-dropping, and made me revise my opinion of everything having to do with “Miss Jekyll”, though it’s not my style of gardening by any means. Some of the autochromes can be found on the web.

So here is my tiny little homage, the richly scented rose ‘Kazanlik’, or, as it should probably be called, Rosa damascena ‘Trigintipetala’.

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