Kew Guild

Peter Good (17?? – 1803)

Seed and plant collector for Kew on HMS Investigator

b. Scotland, 17??; d. Sydney, New South Wales, 12 June 1803

After early experience in Scotland, Good worked as a foreman at the Royal Gardens at Kew, probably from about 1794.  In 1795 he was sent to India to accompany Christopher Smith and care for a consignment of plants being sent from Kew to the Calcutta Botanic Gardens.  While there, he set about collecting plants for the return trip and made a herbarium which survives.  Plants were duly delivered to Kew on 9 February 1796.  It seems that at least 14 Indian species were introduced into British gardens in this collection.

Good was working as a kitchen gardener at Wemyss Castle, Fife, Scotland, when Joseph Banks offered him the appointment as gardener to the botanist Robert Brown, at a salary of £105 a year, for the voyage of HMS Investigator under Captain Matthew Flinders to New Holland (1801–1805).  On the voyage much of the Australian coast was charted, and many landings were made to allow plant collecting.

Good made an extensive collection of seeds and living plants but the latter did not survive to reach England.  He also collected dried plant specimens but most of these were incorporated into Brown’s collections.

While the Investigator was at Timor, Good was one of several on board who contracted dysentery.  He survived until the ship reached Port Jackson but died at Sydney on 12 June 1803.

Large collections of seeds were forwarded to Kew, where many new plants were raised from them.  The second edition of Hortus Kewensis (1812) lists many plants as introduced by Good.

Flinders named Goods Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria after him, and he is also commemorated in Goods Gully on Mount Brown, South Australia, where the Investigator’s naturalists spent the night of 10–11 March 1802.

Robert Brown admired his work ethic immensely and named the plant genus Goodia in his honour.  He is also commemorated in species of Banksia and Grevillea.

His journal and plant lists from the Investigator voyage are held in the Natural History Museum, London. No portrait is known.

Sources

Desmond, R. (1994), Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturists, Taylor & Francis & The Natural History Museum, London, p. 284.

Edwards, P. (ed.) (1981), The Journal of Peter Good: Gardener on Matthew Flinders Voyage to Terra Australis 1801–03, Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Historical series vol. 9, London.

Mabberley, D.J. (2004), Good, Peter (d. 1803), horticulturalist and plant collector, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford.

Webb, M. (2005), Peter Good: gardener on a voyage of discovery, pp 97–103 in J. Wege et al. (eds), Matthew Flinders and his Scientific Gentleman: The Expedition of HMS Investigator to Australia, 1801–05, Western Australian Museum, Perth.

 

Kewite-mail, December 2016

kewite-mail-december-2016

Dear Kewites and friends,

It amazes me that we are fast approaching twelve months since our immediate past President Tony Overland was sending out the last Christmas Kewite-mail. Now, after what seems a very speedy year, it is my turn to wish everyone with an interest in the vital work of Kew Gardens, all the very best for Christmas and the Festive Season. I am sure that for many it has been a tiring year and it will be a joy to spend some time with our families, friends and loved ones recuperating over the Christmas break in readiness for the New Year. As ever, the New Year will bring us challenges and opportunities and I therefore send everyone my best wishes for the coming year.

By the time you receive this newsletter, the Guild Trustees will have met on two occasions and we have a full agenda to tackle over the coming months. We have welcomed new committee members in Ian Lamont Smith (oversees representative from Canada) and Leo Pemberton, as well as old stalwarts of the Kew Guild in Graham Burgess, David Hardman and Stewart Henchie. This mix of experience and new skills will be fully utilised by the committee over the coming months.

alan-stuttard-and-tony-overland-agm-2016

Alan Stuttard (left) taking over the reign of President from Tony Overland, September 2016

At present, there are a number of significant pieces of work being undertaken by the Guild Committee:

  • The documentation for the planned submission to the Charity Commission for the Guild to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) has now been placed with them after what has been a long piece of work lead by Bob Ivison to address all their questions. The agreement to go forward on this issue was made at the AGM in 2015 which gives some idea of the size of the task. I am also sure that there will be further work and issues for us to deal with in the New Year.
  • You may well have noticed that we have a new website kewguild.org.uk which has just been set up and in its early stage of development. Again, a lot of work has gone on in the background by Jonathan Rickards and the new arrangements should see the Guild make a saving of nearly 90% on the costs that the previous host was charging. Most of the saving has been created because we now have the ability to place articles on the website directly without going through the original company and being charged for every change. This however, will mean that the Committee will have to learn new IT skills and for some of us this is a tall order!
  • The Kew Guild Journal has always been a very popular benefit of membership of the Guild and our Editor Sparkle Ward has excelled herself this year. Many members have commented on the quality of this year’s important annual document that connects all of Kew’s “family” across the world. Work has already started on next year’s Journal and the deadline for articles and photographs is 31st January 2017 and anything that you wish to submit should be sent to Sparkle at kewguildeditor@hotmail.com.
  • Earlier in the year an invitation was received from Her Majesty the Queen for three representatives of the Kew Guild to attend a reception given at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Patronages and Affiliations of Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, the Hon. Lady Ogilvy. Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra is the Patron of the Kew Guild and therefore on the 29th November your President, immediate Past President and Sylvia Phillips attended the reception at Buckingham Palace. We were extremely lucky to have had quite a long conversation with Her Majesty the Queen regarding the work of the Guild, in which she showed much interest. As you can imagine we had a very special evening.
  • Allan Hart has undertaken considerable work on creating the new “Honours Boards” in the Kew Guild Room of the Herbarium and the room is now set to receive a refurbishment and upgrade by Kew. We are therefore looking forward to the work being completed next year and the committee then being able to meet in these new “plush” surroundings. Further updates will be given when the completion date is known.

You can see from the reported activities above that your committee works extremely hard and puts in many hours of work on continuing to provide the Kew Guild services that we have all become used to. I am sure you will agree with me when I thank them all for this work and hope that you will be able to support and enjoy the unique benefits that the Kew Guild provides during the coming year.

Finally, you will all recall the debates that we had when the Guild needed to take the difficult decision to increase membership fees for the first time in many years. I am pleased to report that most of our members have now updated their standing orders to the new fee of £27 and our income has increased significantly to help meet the Guild’s increasing costs. There are, however, still a few members who have yet to change their standing orders and I am sure that this is just down to us all having too much to do in our busy lives. I urge you to please check that the changes have been made as those that do not pay full subscription will no longer receive Guild communications, including the journal. So please don’t let this breakdown continue as I wish you all to remain fully involved in this great “Family of Kew”.

With the kindest regards, Alan Stuttard, President, Kew Guild

Attached: The minutes of the AGM of the Kew Guild held at Jodrell Lecture Theatre, September 2016.

Visits, tours and dates for your diary

On the 22nd October, we had our first visit of the new season, with an extremely interesting trip up north to Thorp Perrow Arboretum, near Bedale in North Yorkshire. The weather was superb, with pleasant autumn temperatures. We had an enthusiastic introduction to the background of the Arboretum followed by a lively tour of the site by Faith Douglas, the Curator. The autumn colours were fantastic and we viewed many surprising uses of coloured plants that normally wouldn’t be expected. A really superb visit.

An exciting programme of events is being developed for 2017 by Committee members and coordinated by our Events Officer Pamela Holt.

18th February: Snowdrops at Bennington Lordship Gardens. The first visit of 2017 is our annual snowdrop garden and this year we are going to Benington Lordship Gardens near Stevenage in Hertfordshire. We are already accepting applications to join us on what is hoped to be as successful as 2016.

6 – 8th April: The Guild’s signature trip is April’s three-day visit to Guernsey to include Raymond Evison’s Clematis nursery, Saumarez Park and a collection of smaller private gardens. The flyer for this event was released earlier this month and applications flooded in and the list of attendees had to be closed 24 hours later. This must be some sort of record. THIS TRIP IS NOW FULLY BOOKED.

12 – 13th May: A trip to Compton Acres and Exbury Gardens. A wonderful weekend exploring two of Hampshire and Dorset’s best known gardens. A day will be spent at Compton Acres, with its water features and various intimate gardens which have been the subject of considerable refurbishment over recent years. The next day sees us at Exbury Gardens with the rare opportunity to be shown around this estate, noted for Rhododendrons and Azaleas, by the owner. A rare opportunity indeed!

25th May: Kew Guild Dinner 2017 at Cambridge Cottage, Kew Green. The plans for the Kew Guild Dinner are proceeding well and we are looking forward to another enjoyable annual event using the very successful format of the last couple of years. I look forward to welcoming you to this great event held in Chelsea Week.

24 – 25th June: A weekend of horticultural and interesting sites in Devon with visits being planned to include Dartmoor and a number of National Trust and private gardens in the Torbay area.

12 – 13th August: Our final visit of the year takes us to Derbyshire with a visit to Chatsworth and a number of gardens and attractions around the Matlock area.

Whilst it is still early days in the planning of some of these visits it is worth noting the dates in your diaries so as not to miss the chance to enjoy these great visits in convivial company. If you haven’t been to one of the visits before, or it’s been a long time since you have joined us, make 2017 the year that you rectify this. Further details will be sent to members and updates placed on the Guild’s website, so keep an eye open for the developing information. You won’t be sorry!

I wish to pass on my thanks to committee members and friends for creating such an exciting programme of events. I urge you to keep watching the website to see which of them whets your appetite and get your application in as soon as possible. Our Events Officer Pamela Holt will be waiting! If you haven’t joined us before on a visit, make this your New Year’s Resolution – you won’t be sorry. I really look forward to meeting new and regular tour members during the coming year on what are always relaxed visits, enjoyed with kindred spirits, who have a love of all things related to Gardens.

So, thank you for reading this update on the work of the Kew Guild and this just leaves me to again wish you all a very peaceful and Happy Christmas and hope that 2017 brings you everything that you desire.

AGM Broadwalk Tour.jpg

Kew Guild Members being given a tour and talk of the Kew Gardens Broardwalk during the AGM day, 2016. Our thanks go to Richard Barley for giving us lots of very interesting information and history.

Berthold Carl Seemann (1825–1871)

Botanist, plant collector, including voyage of HMS Herald 1847–1851, central America, Fiji; writer berthold-seemann-portrait

b. Hannover, Germany, 28 Feb. 1825; d. Nicaragua, 10 Oct. 1871.

A native of Hannover, Seemann entered Kew as a gardener in 1844, working under the curator, John Smith. He came to Kew with the object of fitting himself for the role of a botanical collector.

On the recommendation of Sir William Hooker he was appointed naturalist to HMS Herald in 1846. The Herald, under Captain Henry Kellett, undertook a surveying expedition of the Pacific between 1845 and 1851. Seemann joined the ship in Panama in January 1847, and while awaiting her arrival explored the isthmus of Panama, finding many new plants.  He sent several cases of living plants to Kew before the vessel undertook its survey of the American west coast and arctic regions.  During August and September 1847 he made a large collection in Ecuador.  His dried plant specimens were delivered to Hooker when the Herald returned to England in 1851.

On the recommendation of Hooker, the Admiralty requested that Seemann publish the results of the voyage.  He produced, in 1853, The Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Herald during the years 1845-1851 and, between 1852 and 1857, The Botany of the Voyage of H.M.S. Herald, in 10 parts.

He was awarded a doctorate by the University of Göttingen in 1853.

In 1853 he founded the German periodical Bonplandia, a quarto botanical journal, which he edited for 10 years, before establishing in its place the English Journal of Botany.

He went on to explore the Fiji Islands in 1860, returning in 1861 with a large collection of plants.  He published a catalogue of the flora of the islands (1862) and a Flora in 10 parts (1865–1873).

Seemann explored further in Central America and spent much time in Nicaragua, in connection with the Javali gold mines, where he succumbed to fever in 1871.

He developed a special interest in the genera Camellia and Thea and the families Ternstroemiaceae, Crescenticeae, Hederaceae and Bignoniaceae.  Several genera were named after him but the only one still accepted is Seemannaralia (Araliaceae).

The main set of most of his herbarium collections is at the Natural History Museum, London, but that from Fiji is at Kew.  There are duplicates in many other herbaria.

For a bibliography of all his botanical publications see F.A. Stafleu & R.S. Cowan (1985), Taxonomic Literature 2nd edn 5: 474–481, Bohn, Scheltema & Holkema, Utrecht/Antwerpen.

Sources

Hemsley, W. Botting (1904), In memoriam, Berthold Seemann, Journal of the Kew Guild 1 (3): 31–32.

Howgego, R. (2004), Encyclopedia of Exploration 1800 to 1850, pp 314–316, Hordern House, Potts Point.

Trimen, H. (1872), Obituary, The Journal of Botany 10: 1–7.

 

Albert Edward Peter Griessen (1875–1935)

Kew Gardener, 1896. At Botanic Gardens, Calcutta, 1898. Superintendent, Taj Gardens, 1900; at Delhi 1913, Deputy Director (Garden Circle), Agricultural Department, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh.

b. London, England, 1875; d. London, England, 6 Oct 1935

Born in London and educated in Paris, Versailles and London, Griessen entered Kew as a student gardener in June 1896, where he was appointed sub-foreman in the same year. At that time he was the youngest sub-foreman to have been appointed to the role, being just 21 years old.

He continued as sub-foreman until 1898 when he was appointed to the Government Botanic Gardens at Sibpur, Calcutta. He soon transferred to Agra to act as Superintendent to the Taj Gardens. Griessen was tasked with restoring the grounds surrounding the Taj Mahal, including McDonnell Park, the grounds surrounding the Queen Victoria Memorial Statue and the Circuit House.  At Agra he also reclaimed the historic gardens of Etmad-ud-doola and Sikandra, and laid out Hewett Park and the People’s Park. He planned and laid out many gardens in Agra and wrote extensively about his work in India. He laid out the landscape and horticultural amenities of the immense camps at Delhi on the occasions of the Coronation Durbar under Lord Curzon and of the Imperial Durbar under Lord Hardinge, and also the camps at Agra on the occasion of the visits of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1905, and the Emir of Afghanistan in 1907. At times up to 2000 men were working on these projects. For his service there he was awarded the Royal Victorian Medal and the Kaiser-i-Hind medal for distinguished service to the British Empire in India.

After thirteen years of service in Agra, he transferred to Delhi. His work there included the re-afforestation of the dry and barren Delhi Southern Ridge and town planning in Muttra and the Native States.  For the King Emperor Durbar of 1913 State Camps were prepared to accommodate more than 4000 guests. More than 105 000 plants were grown specially and 160 railways trucks of decorative plants were sent from distant government gardens. Superintendents from the provinces came to lay out their respective camps. Griessen noted that ‘never before did any town in India witness so large a gathering of Kewites: —Messrs. Locke, Mustoe, Long, Little, Johnson, Head, Krumbiegel and others’. He rose to the position of Deputy Director (Garden Circle), Agricultural Department, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh (now Uttar Pradesh). He was involved in archaeological excavation and the preservation of ancient tombs situated on lands under his care.

In 1928, when due to return to England for two years’ leave prior to his retirement, he was asked by the Government of India to continue for a further three years but, for family reasons, he declined. In 1930 he retired after thirty-two years of public service, returning to England and settling at Craven Park, London.

Griessen wrote extensively, in English and French, on horticulture in France and his experiences in India. He retired to Craven Park, London, in 1930.

Sources

Griessen, A.E.P. (1926), A retrospective glance after twenty-seven years in India, Journal of The Kew Guild 4 (33): 405–410.

Proudlock, R.L. (1936), Obituary, Journal of The Kew Guild 5 (43): 582–584.

Desmond, R. (1994), Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturists, Taylor & Francis and The Natural History Museum, London.

Desmond, R. & Hepper, F.N. (1993), A Century of Kew Plantsmen: A Celebration of The Kew Guild, The Kew Guild, Royal Botanic gardens, Kew, Richmond.

Petwood: A William Goldring Garden in Lincolnshire?

William Goldring (May 1854-1919) was a landscape architect, and naturalist. Goldring arrived at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (1875) where he was in charge of the Herbaceous Department at the word-famous botanical garden. He served as the Assistant Editor of The Garden (1879), and the Editor of Woods and Forests (1883-1886). He was also President of the Kew Guild (1913). Goldring’s work included many private houses, hospitals, asylums and public parks in England, Wales, India and the United States of America. He is responsible for work on nearly 700 different garden landscape projects in England alone – Ed. (http://www.parksandgardens.org/places-and-people/person/551)

William Goldring is associated with three gardens in Lincolnshire, Rauceby Hospital near Sleaford (1900): Doddington Hall near Lincoln and Petwood at Woodhall Spa (1906).1 It is the last garden that the author has undertaken extensive research over the past three years in preparation for a publication on the definitive history of the gardens at Petwood. Goldring had just finished his work at Rauceby in 1906; perfect timing to commence at Petwood. There appears to be no primary evidence for Goldring’s involvement at Petwood unless Guild members are aware of any.

Petwood was an Edwardian country house, now a hotel, built for the furniture heiress, Grace Maple, then Baroness Eckhardstein, between 1905 -06 (fig.1) on a 40 acre acid soil site north of the village. The fame of the gardens arose later c.1912 with the alterations and expansion to the original design, by Harold Peto. The literature knew of a first garden but not of its appearance. Thanks to the commissions of the Baroness to local professional photographer, John Wield, we have photographic evidence of the construction and maturation of that garden from 1906-09. These images are unique. No one else ever had access to these gardens. His extensive archive, the vast majority taken on dry collodion glass plates, are now in the care of the Woodhall Spa Cottage Museum, to whom I thank for permission to reproduce here.

The plan of this first garden is shown schematically in fig.2. It can conveniently be divided into three sections. To the north of the house was an area of birch and scrub called the ‘Rough’. This was turned into a series of decorative walks, all lined by two rows of rhododendrons (fig.3) The author has identified three definite walks with the possibility of a fourth.

To the west of the house were two features, the first and most northerly was the Pergola Lawn, in reality a grass tennis court bordered on three sides by an elaborate rustic pergola supporting a profusion of climbing roses (fig.4), backed by large borders of seasonal planting in two apses placed north and south. South of the Lawn, was initially, an informal area for sitting with temporary plantings. Within 12 months this was formalised as a Sunken Garden with delightful gateways and more permanent planting of topiary and rhododendrons (fig.5)

The South Garden was in essence a huge lawned area bisected by a Central Path extending from the terrace adjacent to the house, to the focal point of a thatched summerhouse at the southern border of the garden. The path was flanked by chain linked fencing, bearing climbing roses. It was expanded near the house by a sundial lawn and at the summerhouse end by a Round Pool with a simple classical vase as a decorative feature (fig.6). The Pool and its east and west pathways were bordered with the same rustic pergola as on the Pergola Lawn. To the east was a Serpentine Walk with five huge hoops supporting roses. The lawns either side of the path were used for, croquet on the east and for statement planting of pines, palms and topiary on the west. A more formal area of topiary flanked the sundial lawn.

1 http://www.parksandgardens.org/places-and-people/person/551

Nicholas Duke-Cox.

George Samuel Jenman (1845–1902)

Kew gardener, 1871. Superintendent, Castleton Gardens, Jamaica, 1873. Government botanist and superintendent, British Guiana, 1879. Assisted in the development of sugar cane as a commercial crop.

b. near Plymouth, Devon, 24 August 1845;
d. Georgetown, Demerara, British Guiana, 28 February 1902

His early years were spent in the south of Ireland. He received his early training in horticulture in nurseries near Plymouth, before entering the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in 1871.  He was promoted to foreman of the herbaceous department before, in 1873, being appointed Superintendent of the Castleton Gardens, Jamaica.

Jenman was then appointed Government Botanist and Superintendent of the Botanic Garden of British Guiana in 1879, converting the area from a virtual wasteland into a fine botanic garden. He experimented widely with tropical plants, but came to be best known for his experiments on seedlings of sugar cane. Working at first on his own, and later with Professor Harrison and the Government Chemist, he carried out a long series of experiments which made them household names with regards to the cultivation of sugarcane.

He discovered and named a number of tropical plants, studied zoology and natural history, and wrote articles for the local press as well as papers for scientific journals, e.g. on the ferns and fern-allies of Jamaica. He was a Fellow of the Linnean Society. He is commemorated in the genus Jenmania, now Palmorchis (Orchidaceae).

The archives at Kew hold many letters between Jenman and senior staff at Kew. His plant specimens are held mainly at the New York Botanical Garden and at Kew.

Sources

Anonymous (1902), In Memoriam, George Samuel Jenman, Journal of the Kew Guild. 2 (10): 92–93.

Desmond, R. (1994), Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturists, Taylor & Francis & The Natural History Museum, London, p. 383.

The Demerara Argosy, March 1, 1902.

Stafleu, F.A. & Cowan, R.S. (1979), Taxonomic Literature (2nd edn) 2: 436–437.

Alice Hutchings (Mrs W.H. Patterson) (18??–1944)

One of the first female gardeners at Kew

Eleanor Morland, Gertude Cope and Alice Hutchings, Kew gardeners, pictured in1898, at RBG Kew. By 1902 all the women gardeners had left to take up horticultural posts elsewhere and it was not until World War I that female gardeners were employed at Kew again. Female gardeners wore brown bloomers, woollen stockings, waistcoats and caps, to discourage "sweethearting" with male colleagues.

Eleanor Morland, Gertude Cope and Alice Hutchings, Kew gardeners, pictured in 1898, at RBG Kew. By 1902 all the women gardeners had left to take up horticultural posts elsewhere and it was not until World War I that female gardeners were employed at Kew again. Female gardeners wore brown bloomers, woollen stockings, waistcoats and caps, to discourage “sweethearting” with male colleagues.

 

Horticultural College for Women, Swanley, Kent; Kew gardener, 1896–1899

b. England?, 18??; d. England, 24 Jan. 1944

In 1896, Alice Hutchings and Annie Gulvin were the two first women gardeners employed by Kew.  Both were recruited after obtaining a Diploma from Swanley Horticultural College for Women, in Kent.  Hutchings had obtained a Kent County Council Scholarship to attend the two-year course.  Swanley Council persuaded the Director of Kew, William Thiselton-Dyer, to experiment with the employment of Swanley students.  Hutchings wrote to Kew to apply for the position.  She excelled in her role and became sub-forewoman in the Alpine Pits.

On leaving Kew she went as gardener to Mrs Cranfield, near Ipswich.  Later she became the Head Gardener at Burstall, Suffolk.  By 1902 all of the women gardeners employed as part of the experiment at Kew had left to take up horticultural posts elsewhere.

In 1902 Alice Hutchings married another Kewite, William Henry Patterson, who had also been a colleague at Swanley. When Patterson obtained a government post in the West Indies, Alice accompanied him. In 1912 Patterson was appointed Government Entomologist for the Gold Coast in West Africa, where they stayed for 20 years.  Mrs Patterson joined her husband on numerous trekking expeditions, and on occasion entered native districts where no white woman had travelled before.  After Patterson’s retirement they stayed on in Uganda.  At the time of her death she was visiting her daughter in England.

Women gardeners were not employed at Kew again until the First World War.

Sources

Cope, G. (1945), In Memoriam, Alice Hutchings (Mrs W.H. Patterson), Journal of the Kew Guild 6: 403.

Parker, L. & Ross-Jones, K. (2013), The Story of Kew Gardens in Photographs, Arcturus Publishing, London.

Photo: Kew Guild Collection, KGU/1/9/3/262

John Dallachy (18??-1871)

Gardener at Kew mid-1840s.  Gardener to Earl of Aberdeen at Haddo House.  Manager, coffee plantation, Ceylon, 1847.  Moved to Australia 1849.  Gardener, Melbourne, Victoria, 1849.  Superintendent, Melbourne Botanic Gardens, 1849–57; curator of herbarium, 1857–61.  Nurseryman, Prahran, Victoria.  Collected plants in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales for F. Mueller.

b. Morayshire, Scotland, c. 1805/08 (but possibly 1820); d. Vale of Herbert Station, Queensland, Australia, 4 June 1871

Born in the north of Scotland, Dallachy trained as a gardener at Haddo House, Scotland, home to the Earl of Aberdeen, himself a keen botanist. The first Director of Kew Gardens, William Hooker, visited Haddo House and Dallachy took the opportunity to apply to Kew.  He was accepted and after his time at Kew returned to Haddo House as head gardener.

In 1847 Dallachy left to manage a coffee plantation in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), but in 1849 he moved on to Melbourne, Australia, where he was first employed as a gardener.  In the same year he succeeded John Arthur as superintendent of the fledgling Melbourne Botanic Gardens.  He was instrumental in having Ferdinand Mueller appointed as Government Botanist in 1852.  In 1857 he became curator of the new herbarium at the Gardens, while Mueller’s role was enlarged to include the directorship. He left in 1861 to establish a nursery in Prahan, a suburb of Melbourne.  However, he was a true botanist at heart and was attracted to exploration and plant collecting.

In Victoria, Dallachy collected at Mount Macedon, Mount Disappointment, Pentland Hills, The Grampians, Ovens Valley, Mount Buffalo, along the Murray River near Wentworth, the area of Sunraysia and the Darling River, among other areas.  He sent both herbarium specimens and seeds to Mueller, and many plants subsequently grown in the Gardens were a result of Dallachy’s collecting expeditions. He also maintained his friendship with William Hooker, sending him plant specimens—often newly-discovered—for identification.

Late in 1863 he moved to Cardwell near Rockingham Bay, Queensland, and spent his remaining years as a collector, mainly for Mueller in Melbourne. Among the places that he explored were the Herbert and Stone Rivers, Stanley Plains, Hinchinbrook Island and the Mt Elphinstone Range.

Dallachy introduced a large number of Australian plants to science and horticulture.  He is considered to have been perhaps the best early botanical collector employed by the Melbourne Botanic Gardens.  The plants propagated in the Gardens formed a foundation of plantings in all major parks and gardens around Melbourne.

Dallachy died in his tent while collecting at Rockingham Bay in 1871.

He is commemorated in the name of the genus Dallachya (now Rhamnella, Rhamnaceae) and more than twenty Australian plant species, e.g. Acacia dallachiana, Austromyrtus dallachiana.

Resources

Desmond, R. (1994), Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturists, Taylor & Francis & The Natural History Museum, London.

George, A.S (2009), Australian Botanist’s Companion, p. 343, Four Gables Press, Kardinya, Australia.

Law-Smith, J. (1984), The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Maud Gibson Trust in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne.

Morrison, Crosbie (ed.) (1946), Melbourne’s Garden, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne.

Pescott, R.T.M. (1982), The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne: A History from 1845 to 1970, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

 

Nigel Hepper’s school project reworked 70 years on

A fragment of Nigel Hepper's 1947 survey of Meanwood Marsh.

A fragment of Nigel Hepper’s 1947 survey of Meanwood Marsh.

Retired teacher Mark Smith of The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) has written an article for the 2016 issue of ‘Memento’, the school’s Memento magazine. Nearly seventy years on, he has re-surveyed Meanwood Marsh, previously mapped using string, pegs and a tape measure by late Kew Guild member and past-president F. Nigel Hepper in 1947 when studying at the school, then known as Leeds Grammar School.

Mark reports “The accuracy of Nigel Hepper’s original map was surprisingly good given the means he had to make it and, together with some impressive plant identification skills, indicates scientific attention to detail even at that early stage in his career. A record of ecological change has been possible due to the early enthusiasm of a Leeds Grammar School pupil.”

Nigel went on to apply these skills to his herbarium work and not least to his plant phenological recording in Leeds, Kew Gardens and at his home in Richmond, a body of work that is now of particular interest to Kew, Reading University and RHS Wisley.

In science, nothing properly written up goes to waste.

David Hepper (Nigel’s son)

Farnham Tree Trail launched

farnham-tree-trail-guide-2016Guild member Peter Bridgeman has written a delightful leaflet for the Farnham in Bloom scheme of Farnham Town Council, Surrey, published earlier this year. Available free of charge from the library and the Council offices, the Farnham Tree Trail Guide takes visitors around thirty two significant trees, all visible from public open space around the centre of town, with a photograph, English and scientific names, history and useful identification features. The leaflet unfolds to reveal a colour map of Farnham with each specimen clearly numbered as a station on the full walk.

I had thought of producing such a leaflet myself but Peter is much better qualified and the result is excellent. Of course, time will change the trees but a leaflet can always be updated.

David Hepper