The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 4: British Gardens (1100-1830)

English botanists and gardeners

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635. As great encouragers of botany during this century, Miller mentions, in 1731, the Duke of Chandos, Compton, Speaker of the House of Commons, Dubois of Mitcham, Compton, Bishop of London, Dr. Uvedale of Enfield, Dr. Lloyd of Sheen. Dr. James Sherard, apothecary, had, at Eltham, one of the richest gardens England ever possessed. His gardener, Knowlton, was a zealous botanist, and afterwards, when in the service of the Earl of Burlington, at Lanesborough, discovered the globe conferva (C. ï¾µgagropila Linn.). Dr. Sherard's brother was consul at Smyrna, and had a fine garden at Sedokio, near that town, where he collected the plants of Greece and many others. The consul died in 1728, and the apothecary in 1737. Fairchild, Gray of Fulham, Gordon, and Lee, eminent nurserymen, introduced many plants during the first half of the century. The last three corresponded with Linnï¾µus. Collinson, a great promoter of gardening and botany, had a fine garden at Mill Hill, near Hendon. Richard Warner had a good botanic garden at Woodford Green. Robert James Lord Petre, who died in 1742, at the early age of 29, was a great promoter of gardening, and introduced many new plants. (See Miller's Dictionary, the Hortus Kewensis, and Collinson's Letter to Linnï¾µus.) Lord Petre seems to have been the greatest encourager of botany and horticulture of his day. His stoves contained most of the tropical plants known at that time, and they grew with the greatest luxuriance, being planted in the free ground. This young nobleman introduced the Camellia, but he killed the two plants which were first brought to England (the single-red) by keeping them in the stove. The Duke of Argyle, styled a treemonger by Horace Walpole, had, early in this century, a garden at Whitton, near Hounslow, richly stocked with exotic trees. A number of other names of patrons, gardeners, and authors, equally deserving mention, are necessarily omitted. Dr. (afterwards Sir John) Hill had a botanic garden at Bayswater: he began to publish in 1748, and produced numerous works on plants and flowers, which had considerable influence in rendering popular the system of Linnï¾µus, and spreading the science of horticulture, and a taste for ornamental plants. Drs. Fothergill and Pitcairn introduced a great number of new plants; and in 1775 sent out Thomas Blaikie to collect plants in Switzerland.