Former Kew Guild President honoured at Swansea Botanical Gardens
By Janette Ames, 2019
Earlier in the year, the Guild Archives had an enquiry from Pamela Morgan, former Chair of the Friends of the City of Swansea Botanical Complex, and amateur historian of the parks. As part of preparations for a centenary celebration, she was researching a former Guild President and Kew Gardens staff member, Daniel Bliss.
The Archive at Kew holds former staff files and happily we were able to help Pamela with her research. Daniel Bliss worked at Kew Gardens from 1892-1895 (reaching the position of sub foreman of orchids in 1894) and was President of the Kew Guild in 1931-1932.
Daniel Bliss was also the creator of the Botanical Gardens in Singleton Park in Swansea and although the Botanical Gardens has been extended a number of times, the core of it is to his design. As Pamela says ‘Until I started this research I had not heard of Daniel Bliss, he has faded from the collective memory here. He is so important to the Botanical Gardens that we take every opportunity to mention him.’
2019 sees the first of two centenaries for the Botanical Gardens, which acknowledges the purchase of the grounds by the Council in 1919. The second centenary in 2023 celebrates the opening of the Botanical Gardens to the public.
This extract from the commemorative centenary panel in the Botanical Gardens highlights some of the work Daniel Bliss did when he became responsible for the area in 1919. ‘In the glasshouses he [Bliss] put together collections of ferns, cacti, orchids and other exotic plants which needed warmth and protection. In the grounds he created a collection of hardy plants, including shrubs and trees from Britain and the world and a rockery of alpine plants. It quickly became one of the premier establishments for horticultural excellence in the whole of Britain’
Guild members visiting the area might be interested in a trip to the Botanical Gardens, where you can see Daniel Bliss featured on the centenary panel, unveiled at a special ceremony on 4th August. Click the link below for more information.
(photograph courtesy of Pamela Bliss)