Julia Kelly is the award-winning author of books about ordinary women and their extraordinary stories. In addition to writing, she’s been an Emmy-nominated producer, journalist, marketing professional, and (for one summer) a tea waitress. Julia called Los Angeles, Iowa, and New York City home before settling in London. Readers can visit JuliaKellyWrites.com to learn more about all of her books and sign up for her newsletter.
The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” Marcus Tullius Cicero
The Last Garden in England reconstructs an abandoned historic garden, uncovers a mysterious locked gate, and reveals the lives of determined women, separated by generations and war but who grow connected by one famous garden designer.
Julia Kelly presents The Last Garden in England in triple timeline and the voice of five women, including the diary entries of the Edwardian garden designer, Venetia Smith. Readers are introduced to original garden designs through the intricate details drawn and planted by Venetia in 1907, sketched by “land girl,” Beth in 1944, and recreated by Emma and the company crew of Turning Back Thyme in 2021.
Highbury House and its labyrinth of garden “rooms” in Warwickshire, England, becomes the “living” landscape for the nouveau riche Mr. & Mrs. Melcourt in the early 1900’s, Dr. and Mrs. Murry Symonds in 1944 war torn England, and Sydney and Andrew Wilcox in 2021. Each family is grafted into the history of this once breathtaking garden.
Readers’ love for Venetia and her gift of visionary gardens will thrive as Julia Kelly’s tendrils of love and loss are intertwined amongst the thorn encrusted, vine covered locked gates and the seeds of new beginnings.
Return to an early Victorian era and wander the rose petaled pathways in The Last Garden in England.
Julia Kelly has based Venetia Smith on the British horticulturist, Gertrude Jekyll. The information and links below will hopefully add to the readers’ enjoyment of English gardening.
Gertrude Jekyll -British Horticulturist
Gertrude Jekyll VMH was a British horticulturist, garden designer, craftswoman, photographer, writer and artist. She created over 400 gardens in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States, and wrote over 1,000 articles for magazines such as Country Life and William Robinson’s The Garden. November 29, 1843- December 8, 1932
This book explores the life and work of Gertrude Jekyll, probably the most influential garden designer of the early twentieth century. First published in the UK by Sutton Publishing in 1996 (and by Timber Press in the US), this Pimpernel Classic edition has been redesigned and includes new photography. In this book Judith Tankard and Martin Wood explore her life and work at the home she created for herself at Munstead Wood in Surrey, England. Taking as a basis her own photograph albums, scrapbooks and notebooks, and the recollections of contemporaries from Edith Wharton and Vita Sackville-West to William Robinson and Henry Francis du Pont, they describe not only the building and development of the house and garden but also her skills both in the arts and as a businesswoman and her collaborations with architects – pre-eminently Edwin Lutyens, but also Oliver Hill and M.H. Baillie Scott.https://www.amazon.com/Gertrude-Jekyll-Munstead-Pimpernel-Classic/dp/1910258059