I love visiting historic gardens. Walking the grounds, imaging what the garden was like “back in the day”. Picturing what life was like in the time the garden was created. How did they purchase the plants, fertilize the soil and care for the garden?
Gardens are ephemeral and typically fall into oblivion when the owner is gone. Every once in a while, a garden is restored or tended in such a way that you feel the owner is still there, tending the borders and making plans for the upcoming garden season. That’s how it felt visiting Gravetye Manor.
The Manor house was built in 1598 according to the Gravetye website. Robinson purchased the Manor and 1,000 acres of surrounding English countryside in 1884 and lived at Gravetye until his death in 1935. During that time, Gravetye was transformed into an amazing example of what Robinson called the “English Wild Garden”.
For this first post, I wanted to share photographs of what Gravetye looked like during the time of William Robinson compared to photographs taken during our visit in September 2018. The historic photographs are from Robinson’s books. I tried to photograph the reference images from a similar angle to the historic images to make it easier to see the garden’s development “then” versus “now”.
These are my favorite images. It was amazing to hold Robinson’s old books in my hand and so clearly see the garden he describes as I walked the grounds at Gravetye. I hope you enjoy these images too.
Stay tuned next week for a post describing 5 Garden Design lessons we learned from Gravetye that you can use in your garden.