Gravetye Manor evokes the ethos of a forgotten horticultural talent
Located at the edge of Ashdown Forest in West Sussex, Gravetye Manor’s most famous resident was William Robinson, an extremely talented horticulturist and journalist. Most people even with a gardening background or interest in gardening have not heard of him.
William Robinson was born in 1838 in Ireland into extreme poverty but became wealthy from his botanical and horticultural writing, buying Gravetye Manor in 1884 with its 1000 acres. He was a gifted botanist, travelled widely in order to study plants, by the age of 26 had already been elected to the Linnean Society and was regularly conversing with the likes of Charles Darwin and Gertrude Jekyll. He was particularly interested in enhancing the natural beauty of the landscape and the replication of natural habitats in gardens, a very different approach to the highly manicured gardens of Victorian times. Of his many writings, his two books The Wild Garden and The English Flower Garden greatly influenced gardening styles in England.