6 Plants Named after Women Gardeners

lavender angustifolia 'munstead', english lavender, herb, perennial, shrub, scented plant, gertrude jekyll

6 Plants Named after Women Gardeners has taken inspiration from World Women’s Day.

Also known as International Women’s Day, this takes place on March 8 every year.

International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.


So we’re celebrating women gardeners and suggesting plants you might like to grow in your own garden. And, no you don’t have to be a woman to grow them!

There are many famous women gardeners, both historically and in the present day. Most of the historical women have a flower or plant named after them. Many famous living women gardeners have plants named after them too. Interestingly in both categories, there seem to be as many if not more plants named after the women’s’ gardens than after the women themselves.

6 Plants Named after Women Gardeners is by no means a comprehensive list. I’ve chosen three famous, historical gardeners and two plants for each of them. There are brief notes on how you could use the plants in your own garden as well as a short bio on the women.


6 Plants Named after Women Gardeners – the Gardeners

Gertrude Jekyll

1843 -1932

A painter, plant hunter, garden designer and horticulturalist. Jekyll was awarded the RHS Victoria Medal of Honour in 1897, the year it was established.
She created over 400 gardens in Britain and abroad. Her own garden was Munstead Wood in Surrey. She grew and developed many of her own plants to sell at the plant centre there.
Gertrude Jekyll is well known for her successful gardening partnership with the architect Edward Lutyens. Between them the created, built and planted some of the most beautiful gardens of the early twentieth century.


Ellen Willmott

1858 – 1934

A plantswoman, botanist, author and gardener.
Ellen Willmott was described by Jekyll as ‘the greatest of all living woman gardeners’.
She was also awarded the RHS Victoria Medal of Honour in 1897. The only two women awarded the honour in its inaugural year. In 1905 Willmott became of the first women to be elected to the Linnaean Society of London. She funded plant hunting expeditions, which led to some of the discovered plants being named after her.

She eventually owned three gardens, in France, Italy and England. Her English garden, Warley Place in Essex, was home to 100,000 different species and cultivars of trees, shrubs and plants. Warley is now leased to the Essex Wildlife Trust.


Lady Beatrix Stanley

1877 – 1944

Perhaps not as famous outside the gardening world as the previous two gardeners. I’ve included Lady Beatrix not least because she created gardens in both India and England.
Her husband was Governor of Madras and Lady Beatrix developed the grounds around their official residence. She also sent drawings and of the province’s plants back to the RHS and had at least one article published articles about gardening in India.

Back home in Sibbertoft Manor, Leicestershire, she propagated bulbous plants, particularly snowdrops.


6 Plants Named after Women Gardeners – the Plants

Gertrude Jekyll

Rosa Gertrude Jekyll
Twice voted Britain’s favourite rose by BBC Gardeners World viewers. This is a repeat flowering climbing rose. The rich pink blooms have a deep old rose fragrance. It’s one of my favourites too.

rosa 'gertrude jekyll'

Lavender Munstead
Ok, a slight cheat as this English Lavender is named after Jekyll’s garden. It is such a good lavender though. Compact with dark purple blue flower spikes it makes an excellent path edging or low border around a vegetable plot.


Ellen Willmott

Eryngium giganteum Miss Willmott’s ghost
Gardening legend has it that Miss Willmott used to secretly scatter seeds of this Eryngium in the gardens she visited. Drought tolerant, this sea holly has steely grey bracts and spiky leaves.

ceratostigma willmottianum, deciduous shrub, blue flowers, autumn foliage colour, ellen willmott

Ceratostigma willmottianum
Variously described as a shrub and a herbaceous perennial. Brilliant for late summer and autumn colour with blue flowers and leaves which turn red as they mature.


Lady Beatrix Stanley 

Galanthus Lady Beatrix Stanley
This snowdrop has large well-shaped double flowers. The long narrow pointed sepals enclose many layered neat white petticoats. An early flowering Galanthus good for borders and containers.

Galanthus Lady Beatrix Stanley, snowdrop, flowering bulbs, winter garden

Iris histrioides Lady Beatrix Stanley
Earlier flowering than other winter irises. Slightly scented blue flowers with a long flowering period. Also good for borders and containers.


Enjoy planting these in your own garden and celebrate the achievements of women everywhere.


Some Related Gardening blogs you may enjoy

Mothers Day flowers – 5 Favourites in your Garden
Dream Gardens 1926 Style – Celebrating 90 Years of Life
National Gardening Week 2015
Snowdrop Flowers
Scented Roses, rose bushes, climbers, fragrant flowers
A Chocolate Garden – Planting Design Inspiration


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