The Hidden Horticulturists: The Untold Story of the Men who Shaped Britain's Gardens (Hardback)Fiona Davison (author)
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'Delightful... The Hidden Horticulturists pulsates with the extraordinary energy and excitement of the time.' Daily Mail
The untold story of the remarkable young men who played a central role in the history of British horticulture and helped to shape the way we garden today.
In 2012, whilst working at the Royal Horticultural Society's library, Fiona Davison unearthed a book of handwritten notes that dated back to 1822. The notes, each carefully set out in neat copperplate writing, had been written by young gardeners in support of their application to be received into the Society's Garden.
Amongst them was an entry from the young Joseph Paxton, who would go on to become one of Britain's best-known gardeners and architects. But he was far from alone in shaping the way we garden today and now, for the first time, the stories of the young, working-class men who also played a central role in the history of British horticulture can be told.
Using their notes, Fiona Davison traces the stories of a selection of these forgotten gardeners whose lives would take divergent paths to create a unique history of gardening. The trail took her from Chiswick to Bolivia and uncovered tales of fraud, scandal and madness - and, of course, a large number of fabulous plants and gardens. This is a celebration of the unsung heroes of horticulture whose achievements reflect a golden moment in British gardening, and continue to influence how we garden today.
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 750 g
Dimensions: 240 x 165 x 35 mm
This book by the head librarian of the RHS is a cracker... A highly original piece of research into the lives of jobbing gardeners in the early 19th century, with plenty of fascinating social background. -- Tim Richardson * Gardens Illustrated *
The rise and progress of the Victorian head gardener is a tale of ever-increasing professionalism in a developing world of technological progress, artistic revolution and endless plant novelties... It's time their story was told. * Country Life *
The story of a cadre of promising young men who qualified as gardeners in the early 19th century... What is refreshing is that nearly all the names unearthed will be unfamiliar, even to garden historians... Davison has conducted deep research into the later careers of most of these gardeners, discovering what happened to them after they left Chiswick. The result is a revealing insight into the lives of aspiring working men in this period. * Literary Review *