Edward Augustus Bowles (1865 - 1954)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Myddleton House, Enfield, Essex, England
Death: Died in Enfield, Essex, England
Occupation: Self-taught gardener, botanist, botanical artist, and garden writer as well as plant hunter.
Managed by: June Barnes
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About Edward Augustus Bowles

Edward Augustus Bowles (1865-1954)

Gussie" to his friends.

Variations of the name –

Origin of the name –

Birth date – 14th May 1865

Birth Place – Myddelton House in Enfield

Date of Death – in May 1954 - one week short of his eighty-ninth birthday

Place of Death – Myddelton House in Enfield

Burial

Three hundred people attended his funeral. His ashes were scattered in his favourite patch of garden ž the rock garden - an area which he himself maintained.

Memorial/Commemoration

Myddelton House, Bull's Cross, Enfield The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) granted £487,000 to restore EA Bowles' 19th-century Myddelton House Gardens in London in 2009.

“E.A. Bowles of Myddelton House Society … a society dedicated to a single gardener and his work, especially to one who has been dead over fifty years. The fact is that E A Bowles was a very unusual man.

His gardening legacy and writings remain relevant today and his contribution to the Royal Horticultural Society is commemorated in the Bowles Corner at their Wisley Garden. At least forty plants named after him are still being offered for sale, along with others raised by him. In the area where he lived he is also remembered with great affection for his contribution to the church and community over many years. Our society's purpose is to keep his memory alive and continue his work into the 21st century.” [2]

“The Society maintains a small archive of letters, papers and artifacts related to E A Bowles and Society members are involved with archiving the E A Bowles correspondence held at the RHS Lindley Library. In 2003 the E A Bowles Society embarked on a major fundraising drive to establish a biennial student award to commemorate Mr. Bowles interest and contribution to education. In 2004 on the 50th anniversary of his death the inaugural E A Bowles Award was made with a second award in 2006. The award is administrated by the RHS (www.rhs.org.uk).” [2]

Legacy:

"The property is now in the safe ownership of Lea Valley Parks Authority and they have maintained the garden, which is open every day, as much as possible in the style of Bowles. Much of the original garden survives and many of the plants he loved can still be found. Bowles was a most remarkable gentleman garden and his spirit lives on today in this wonderful garden. " [1]

Parents


Father:

Henry Treacher Carington Bowles (1830-1918) Justice of the peace in 1891, Magistrate in 1901 

Mother: Cornelia Kingdom (c1831-1911)

The youngest of three sons – siblings Henry Ferryman Bowles (1858-1943) in 1881 a Law student, Member of Parliament in 1891; John Treacher Bowles (1860-1887) and Cornelia Anne Medora Bowles (1868-1887)

Marriage

He never married and had little to do with girls and women, although he was friendly with Ellen Willmott of Warley Place, and the late plantswoman, Frances Perry, who visited him at Myddelton House in her youth, gaining from his immense horticultural knowledge. [1]

Occupation

Self-taught gardener, botanist, botanical artist, and garden writer as well as plant hunter. Recognised as an authority on crocuses, daffodils, and snowdrops. "Gentleman Gardener"

Career

Whilst studying at Cambridge for the priesthood he joined the Cambridge Entomological Society.

He joined the Royal Horticultural Society in 1897, purchasing life membership for £26, a bargain for both as he served on at least seven of its councils as well as attaining Vice-Presidentship from 1926-1954. In 1916 he received the highest honour the RHS can bestow, the Victoria Medal of Honour.

Travel:

Although not a plant collector Bowles was sent abroad to Switzerland and Italy for health reasons; he suffered from asthma throughout his life. He developed a love of alpine plants,, on his visits/stays in these countries, returning home with many collected plants to enhance the garden at Myddelton House. He was a skilled botanical artist, despite losing the sight in one eye. Mainly self-taught, many of his water-colours and drawings can be seen illustrating the many books and articles on plants he wrote throughout his life.


Publications -

He published many scholarly articles and papers he wrote on various plants; he was the author of three books about his remarkable garden:

My Garden in Spring (published in 1914),

My Garden in Summer and

My Garden in Autumn and Winter (jointly published in 1915).

Best sellers in their day, they were re-published in 1972 and again in 1977.

A Handbook of Crocus and Colchicum was published in 1924 (crocus being one of his great passions) and

A Handbook of Narcissus in 1934.

During the Second World War work began on a sixth book, a monograph on the anemone. This project had to be abandoned halfway through due to lack of funding.

His final book, on snowdrops, in collaboration with Colonel Sir Frederick Stern, was published posthumously in 1956 under the title "Garden Varieties of Galanthus".

Family History and Biographical notes

English gentleman of Huguenot ancestry

In 1887 whilst he was completing his BA tragedy struck the Bowles family when his brother and sister died of consumption. Bowles returned to his parents to comfort them and abandoned professional priesthood. He devoted himself instead to helping his local church as Vicar's Warden and lay reader, organising and running a night school for local boys, doing charitable work for the local poor and the creating a garden from uninspired parkland at Myddelton House.

He lost sight in his right eye

1871 Census – Middleton House, Enfield aged 27 scholar

1881 Census – Middleton House, Enfield aged 15 a Student

1891 Census – Middleton House, Enfield aged 25 no occupation given

1901 - Census – Middleton House, Enfield aged 35 no occupation given

Notes, References, Sources/Links, Family Trees etc.

http://wn.com/Edward_Augustus_Bowles Video of the garden

[1] http://web.me.com/regfield/site/Great_British_Gardeners_IV.html

[2] http://www.eabowlessociety.org.uk/history.htm

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Edward Augustus Bowles's Timeline

1865
May 14, 1865
Enfield, Essex, England
1954
May, 1954
Age 88
Enfield, Essex, England