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Norah Lindsay, the Life and Art of a Garden Designer

Articles: Norah Lindsay, the Life and Art of a Garden Designer

When the beau monde of between-the-wars Britain required audacious herbaceous borders, they summoned not the stout, plain Gertrude Jekyll, but the amusing and aristocratic Norah Bourke Lindsay. Between 1920 and 1944 the impecunious Norah Lindsay fluttered about from York to Devon and from England to France (with side trips to Yugoslavia and Rome), advising and overseeing the planting of the gardens of the titled and illustrious. Lindsay’s style of directing-the-head-gardener design was in sharp contrast to that of her, until-now, more celebrated contemporary who stuck close to her beloved Munstead Wood from where she sent out her finely detailed plans. Unlike Jekyll, who wrote prolifically on gardening topics, Norah mainly confined her writing to copious and sprightly letters to her close circle of friends.

Period Country Life photographs and some family- and client-owned archival images provide the surviving documentation of Norah’s work. Only a handful of her gardens have either partially survived (Cliveden in Berkshire, Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire, Port Lympne in Kent) or been recently restored (Blickling Hall in Norfolk). What has lived on is a plethora of primary biograph...

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