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Gardeners: Horticulturists, Nurserymen and Agriculturists

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Horticulturists, Nurserymen and Agriculturists

A project paying homage to gardeners who have through the centuries made enormous contributions to the horticultural world worldwide.

The aim is to link as many of these people to Profiles on Geni. If someone in your tree fits the bill please add them to the project.

The trigger for this project was my acquisition of a book called "The Head Gardeners" Forgotten Heroes of Horticulture by Toby Musgrave. ISBN 978-1-84513-411-2 Published by Aurum Press Ltd.

In this book is a chapter about James Barnes of Bicton. He was the brother of my husband's 2x Great Grandfather. CJB

Getting Involved

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Scope of the Project

This is a universal project. Those whose careers are of Horticultural in nature, whether of note or not., can be linked to this project. These fall roughly into the following main categories -

Gardeners, Horticulturists and Nurserymen Gardeners, Head Gardeners, nurserymen etc - engaged in the physical act of Gardening - those who were notable or famous can be listed below. .

Botanists and Plant Collectors - those who researched and collected plants - now in a project of their own.

Gardeners: architects, designers and landscape gardeners - those involved mainly in the design of gardens - now in a project of their own.

Commentators and Writers - experts noted for their writing on the subject

Agriculturists - those concerned with the science or art or business of cultivating the soil

Some of those listed would fall into more than one category - please let me know if an individual would be better represented under a different category! (C June Barnes)


Gardeners, Horticulturists and Nurserymen


  • John Abercrombie (1726–1806) Scottish horticulturist important to renovating garden techniques. Occupation: Trained as a Professional Gardener; Director of the botanical garden at Kew; Writer
  • William Townsend Aiton (1766-1849) Occupation: Scottish Botanist, Son of William Aiton (above).
  • Johann Andreas Auge (c. 1711-1805)

German gardener from Stolberg am Harz, Saxony who went to the Botanical Garden at Leiden to gain further experience under Herman Boerhaave. He travelled to the South Africa in 1747 and was employed as an assistant in the garden of the Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC or Dutch East India Company) at Cape Town by Hendrik Swellengrebel. Under the following governor, Rijk Tulbagh, he was promoted to Superintendent and encouraged to travel and collect including participating in the expedition of Capt. Hendrik Hop to the Karas Mountains and Namaqualand (1761-1762). He travelled with C.P. Thunberg as guide (1772-1773) and met F. Masson and A. Sparrman on their visits to South Africa. A collection of plants made by Auge was purchased by M. Grubb, banker and director of the Swedish East India Company, during his return from a visit to China (1764). This same material was later sent to P.J. Bergius and provided much of the basis for his Descriptiones Plantarum ex Capite Bonae Spei, though Bergius did not distinguish Auge collections from specimens collected by Grubb in his herbarium (SBT). Auge retired from the VOC on a small pension in 1778, when his eyesight began to fail and he eventually became completely blind. When the Cape Colony was ceded to Britain, Auge lost his pension and he became destitute when his possessions were destroyed during a raid by Xhosa. He was taken to the farm of A.A. Faure in Swellendam where he was visited by M.H.K. von Lichtenstein in 1804. Auge was commemorated by the genus Augea Thunb. in the Zygophyllaceae and by Phyllopodium augei Hiern (= Manulea augei (Hiern) Hilliard).

see also Number 26


  • James Barnes (1806-1877) Occupation: Head Gardener Bicton
  • Edward Augustus Bowles (1865-1954) Occupation: Gardener, botanist, botanical artist, and garden writer
  • William Bradbery (1776–1860) Occupation: Entrepreneur, was the first person in England to cultivate and sell watercress on a commercial basis.


  • Jonathan Chapman "Johnny Appleseed" (1774 - 1845) USA American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.
  • Peter Collinson (1694-1768) Botanist; Fellow of the Royal Society; an avid gardener; plant collector and the middleman for an international exchange of scientific ideas in mid-18th century London.
  • Ambrose Christian Congreve (1907–2011) was an Irish industrialist, best known for his world-famous garden at Mount Congreve.
  • Moses Cook Gardener active in the mid- to late-17th century; partner in the Brompton Park nursery which he helped to found in 1681
  • Edward William Cooke (1811-1880) Artist and Gardener. Married Jane Loddiges




  • Thomas Fairchild (1667-1729) English gardener. He was the first English nurseryman to experiment with hybridisation of plants.


  • Robert Glendinning (1805-1862) Gardener/Nurseryman
  • James Gordon (1708-1780) Gardener, Nurseryman. Gardener to James Sherard at Eltham and to then Lord Petre at Thorndon. After Petre's death in 1743, Gordon established a nursery at Mile End in East London and ran a seed shop in Fenchurch Street, London.

He was a correspondent of Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778)(see note 1), a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology. He introduced the ginkgo tree into Britain around 1754 - the specimen he gave to Kew still grows there today. References and Links See - The Oxford Companion to the Garden By Patrick Taylor






  • James Lee (1715-1795) Nurseryman in partnership with Lewis Kennedy (1721-1782)

They established a nursery in Hammersmith on a plot of land called The Vineyard, from which the nursery took its name, and which is now under the Olympia Exhibition Centre. Cultivated exotic plants. References and Links

Kitty Lloyd Jones was one of the first women to take a degree in horticulture and then work professionally as a landscape-garden consultant. Among the gardens she influenced are those of The Court House, Chipping Warden, Upton House in Warwickshire, Little Paddocks on the Sunninghill estate in Berkshire, and Achamore on the island of Gigha, Scotland. References and Links

  • Loddiges*

The Loddiges family (sometimes mis-spelt Loddige) managed a plant nurseries that traded in and introduced exotic plants, trees, shrubs, ferns, palms and orchids into European gardens. There were 4 generations of gardeners -

  • Casper Lochlies German Gardener to the Elector of Hanover, George II of England.

Father of

Wiki Joachim Loddiges Joachim

  • George London c1640 - 1714 Nurseryman and garden designer.

George London was apprenticed to John Rose and later became a partner in the Brompton Park Nursery, with Henry Wise, Like many later designers George London toured England giving advice to noblemen. His style of garden design was as near as any English designer came to the French High Baroque.

References and Links


  • Thomas Mawe Gardener

Head gardener to the Duke of Leeds, a position of some note in the gardening world.

Abercrombie, (see above) author of "Every Man His Own Gardener," (also authored under Mawe's name) met when the latter accepted an invitation from Mawe to visit him in Yorkshire, upon which they became fast friends. Both titles were authored by Abercrombie with Mawe, the more influential personage being author in name only.

Thomas Jefferson (president of US) refers to"Every Man his Own Gardener" in journals.

  • Philip Miller (1691-1771) Botanist, horticulturist and Gardener of Scottish Ancestry




  • Frances Perry (1907–1993) Gardener, administrator, writer and broadcaster. WIKI Frances Perry]

  • Robert Pury Head gardener at Wanstead, Essex paid £4 per annum as by Henry VIII (1491-1547) Royal gardens at Wanstead (where Robert Pury was gardener, 1532)



  • William Robinson (5 July 1838 – 17 May 1935) Irish practical gardener and journalist
  • Henry Russell of Westminster, gardener - Manor of Chelsea c 1543 paid 13s 4d for ‘2 banks of Rosemary by him brought to be set within the King’s Garden’ and 26s 8d for six borders of Lavender together with 3 loads of ‘Calesse’ sand for the great bowling alley.

References and Links

  • - Hill, T. The Gardeners Labyrinth, H Bynneman, London, 4th ed 1608, p1
  • William Rutter head gardener at Windsor (Berkshire) paid £4 per annum as by Henry VIII (1491-1547)
  • Sir Harry Veitch He was knighted for his services to horticulture, particularly for his role in establishing the Chelsea Flower Show.





Veitch family

In 1771, a 19-year-old Scottish gardener by the name of * John Veitch arrived in Devon. He was sent for by Sir Thomas Acland to lay out the park at Killerton, near Exeter. Sir Thomas encouraged John to start his own nursery, which he did in Budlake near Killerton sometime before 1808. In 1832 he and his son James bought land at Mount Radford in Exeterand in1837,
James was one of the first men to systematically pioneer the exploration of far away places for new plants and sponsored plant hunters who themselves became horticultural heroes. Men such as the Cornish brothers Thomas and William Lobb, Charles Maries' Wiki , Richard Pearce and Ernest Wilson
In 1853, James and his son James Junior purchased a nursery in Chelsea, which the young James went to run whilst his father remained in Exeter. On the death of James Senior in 1863 the two nurseries which had been run together, separated. James Junior remained in London trading as James Veitch & Son whilst his younger brother Robert took over the Exeter firm. In Chelsea, James Junior was eventually joined by his sons John Gould and Harry James.
In 1899, Harry who was now operating the Chelsea branch of the business, sent Ernest Wilson to China to search for plants suitable for British gardens. In his search - in particular Davidia producing seed, which he sent back to Veitch’s nursery at Coombe Wood from which they had successfully raised thousands of seedlings.
The Chelsea firm ceased to trade in 1914 whilst the Exeter business continued under Peter C.M. Veitch (son of Robert) and later his daughter Mildred. Failing health obliged her to sell the firm in 1969, when it was bought by St. Bridget Nurseries, Exeter. For nearly twenty years it was run as a separate business, but is now a non-functioning subsidiary of St. Bridget’s.

Veitch collectors

See Botanists and Plant Collectors

The house of Veitch employed twenty-two recognised plant hunters, including three members of the Veitch family. Most prominent of these were brothers William and Thomas Lobb, Ernest Wilson and Charles Maries. The others were -

  • Richard Pearce: 1835-1868 Visited Chile, Peru and Bolivia from 1859 to 1866
  • John Gould Veitch: Visited Japan, South Sea Islands and Australia from 1860 to 1870
  • David Bowman: Visited Brazil in 1866
  • Henry Hutton: Visited Java and the Malay Archipelago from 1866 to 1868
  • Carl Kramer: Visited Japan and Costa Rica from 1867 to 1868
  • Gottlieb Zahn: Visited Central America from 1869 to 1870
  • George Downton: Visited Central and South America from 1870 to 1873
  • Henry Chesterton: Visited South America from 1870 to 1878
  • A. R. Endres: Visited Costa Rica from 1871 to 1873
  • Gustav Wallis: Visited Brazil, New Granada, South America from 1872 to 1874
  • Walter Davis: Visited South America from 1873 to 1876
  • Peter Veitch: Visited Australia, South Sea Islands and Borneo from 1875 to 1878
  • Guillermo Kalbreyer: Visited West Coast of Africa and Colombia from 1876 to 1881
  • Christopher Mudd: Visited South Africa in 1877
  • F. W. Burbridge: Visited Borneo from 1877 to 1878
  • Charles Curtis: Visited Madagascar, Borneo, Sumatra, Java and the Moluccas from 1878 to 1884
  • David Burke: Visited East Indies, Burma and Columbia from 1881 to 1897
  • James H. Veitch: Visited India, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand from 1891 to 1893


  • Clarence Greenleaf White (1869-1957) established growing Irish potatoes as a cash crop in northern Florida, raised pineapples in Hawaii, and in 1916 settled in Redlands, California, where he was a civic leader and horticulturist, breeding hybrid irises.
  • Ellen Ann Willmott (19 August 1858 – 27 September 1934) English horticulturalist.



Working Gardeners, Horticulturists and Nurserymen

  • John Bassington (c1750-1798) Nurseryman - Kingsland
  • George Palmer (1862- ) Born in Odiham, Hampshire, England. Gardener - tended the Grape Vine at Hampton Court.

(1891 Census he is described as Garden Labourer; in 1901 Gardener Hampton Court Bred Fuschias, naming one of them after his wife, Edith B. Wilkinson.

  • James Taplin (c1835-1892) Florist, Nurseryman, Hybrid grower Nephew of James Barnes of Bicton

America's contribution to the Nepenthes hybridization effort, mainly that of James Taplin, are published in the Encyclopedia of American Horticulture.  James Taplin had started his work in England, and then came to America to work for George. Nurseries located in New Jersey, USA. Apparantly Taplin had died by the time of this publication. His incredible hybrids created during the late 1800's were recognized as a tremendous success in both America and Europe.

James Taplin was a well-known florist, died at the age of sixty-one in 1892. One time gardener for the Duke of Devonshire. For several years he was conspicuous in the Society of American Florists.


Commentators and Writers

  • Joseph Addison (1672 - 1719) English essayist and translator of Virgil's Georgics.

Joseph Addison founded the Spectator in 1711 and made some famous remarks on gardens - in which he praised the natural and criticised the artificial. In issue, No. 37, he sees the perfect garden as one which is guided by both Nature and Reason. Joseph Addison brought together the key ideas from which the Augustan Style He died at Holland House in what is now Holland Park.

Gardens designed by Joseph Addison
Holland Park

References and Linksé_Le_Nôtre

  • John Evelyn (31 October 1620 – 27 February 1706) English writer, gardener and diarist.

Family History and Biographical Notes

Born into a family whose wealth was largely founded on gunpowder production, John Evelyn was born in Wotton, Surrey, and grew up in the Sussex town of Lewes. He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford and at the Middle Temple. While in London, he witnessed important events such as the execution of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford. Having briefly joined the Royalist army, he went abroad to avoid further involvement in the English Civil War. He travelled in Italy, attending anatomy lectures in Padua in 1646 and sending the Evelyn Tables back to London. In 1644, Evelyn visited the English College at Rome, where Catholic priests were trained for service in England. He married Mary Browne, daughter of Sir Richard Browne the English ambassador in Paris in 1647.

References and Links

  • John Gerard (1545 to 1612) English herbalist famous for his herbal garden and writing.

Family History and Biographical Notes

John Gerard was born in 1545. He originally trained as a barber and surgeon but developed a passion for plants which he pursued in his garden in the village of Holborn.

After becoming superintendent at Theobalds in Hertfordshire for the aristocrat William Cecil, Gerard introduced the white mulberry and distinguished 12 types of phillyreas, which were used for topiary.

In 1599 his book "Herball" was published. It listed native plants and introduced ones with descriptions of their medicinal and 'magical' properties.

References and Links

  • John Claudius Loudon (8 April 1783 – 14 December 1843) Scottish botanist, garden and cemetery designer, author and garden magazine editor. He was a prolific horticultural and landscape design writer.

Loudon was born in Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, Scotland to a respectable farmer. Therefore as he was growing up, he developed a practical knowledge of plants and farming. As a young man, Loudon studied chemistry, botany and agriculture at the University of Edinburgh. When working on the layout of farms in South Scotland he described himself as a landscape planner. This was a time when open field land was being converted from run rig with 'ferm touns' to the landscape of enclosure which now dominates British agriculture.

Sir Uvedale Price (1747 - 1829)

A landowner and author, best known for his Essays on the Picturesque

  • William Shenstone (1714 - 1763) English poet and landscape theorist.

William Shenstone wrote an essay 'Unconnected thoughts on gardening' (1764) and made a celebrated Ferme Ornee at The Leasowes. Girardin erected a memorial to William Shenstone at Ermenonville in France. Shenstone corresponded with Lady Luxborough. Gardens designed by William Shenstone

The Leasowes

References and Links

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  • Louis Bromfield (1896-1956) American Pulitzer Prize winning author and conservationist who gained recognition for his pioneering innovative scientific farming concepts.
  • Dr. Andrew Coventry (1764-1832) Scottish Agriculturist - specialised in the sciences bearing upon agriculture. Coventry became, on 17 November 1790, the first professor of agriculture in Edinburgh university, and continued to hold the post until 1831.
  • Tull (30 March 1674 (baptised) – 21 February 1741) English agricultural pioneer who helped bring about the British Agricultural Revolution.

Suggested Reading

Please insert in alphabetical order by last name of author, and provide URL link if available online

Brown, Jane

- The Omnipotent Magician: Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, 1716-1783  Published 2011 by Chatto & Windus. ISBN-10: 0701182121; ISBN-13: 978-0701182120

Chekhov Anton wrote "The Head-gardener's Story"

Horwood, Catherine - Gardening Women published 2010 by Virago Press ISBN 978-1-84408-463-0

Leapman, Michael The Ingenious Mr. Fairfield published 2000 by Headline Book Publishing ISBN 0 7472 7359 6

Musgrave, Toby - The Head Gardeners, Forgotten Heroes of Horticulture published 2007 by Aurum Press Limited ISBN 978 1 84513 411 2

Wulf, Andrea - The Brother Gardeners, published 2009by Windmill Books ISBN 9780099502371

Wulf, Andrea - The Foundling Gardeners, publishes 2011 by William Heinemann ISBN 9780434019106


[#Notes] and Others who do not fit into any of the other categories but who are worthy of Mention

  • 1 George L. Slate was born at Barnardston, Massachusetts, June 27, 1899, grew up on a dairy farm where an assortment of fruit varieties for home use were grown. He came to Geneva, New York, from the Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1922 and assisted in the preparation of The Small Fruits of New York. This gave him a love for books on fruits, especially on the strawberry, of which he has one of the best collections. It also gave him an understanding of the evolution of the strawberry as a cultivated fruit and started him in breeding. He still continues to breed strawberries, fruiting about 1,000 seedlings and over 100 selections in 1962. Of these (many of selfed lines) over half were for better ever bearing varieties. Present objectives especially emphasise firmness of berry, though high flavour and everbearing qualities were important too. In all he has introduced 16 varieties, of which his best known, Catskill, is the standard midseason variety of the eastern United States. His hobbies are gardening, breeding lilies, and writing for garden magazines. His assistants are J.P. Watson and D.K. Ourecky.

Darrow, G. M. 1966. The Strawberry: History, Breeding and Physiology. New York. Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

  • 2 Carolus Linnaeus (23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778) Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist who created the binomial nomenclature.[1] In this system, every kind of animal and plant is given a name consisting of two Latin words, for its genus and species.[2] This became used by biologists all over the world, and he is known as the "father of modern taxonomy". He was a good linguist, and famous in his time. He was made a noble by the Swedish king.

Carl was born in Sweden. He was going to be a priest, but did not do so well in school for that. Instead his interest in botany got him started studying at a college for this. Carl studied in Lund and tried to make something of the garden there. He later went to another college, Uppsala. While at Uppsala, he did some research and began coming up with his system of naming. In 1732 the Academy of Sciences at Uppsala gave Linnaeus money to go on an expedition to Lapland in northernmost Sweden, which was not well studied then. Carolus wrote two books about his trip.

  • 3 Daniel Carlsson Solander or Daniel Charles Solander (19 February 1733 – 13 May 1782) Swedish naturalist and an apostle of Carl Linnaeus.

Solander was born in Piteå, Norrland, Sweden, was the son of Rev. Carl Solander a Lutheran principal, and Magdalena née Bostadia. Solander enrolled at Uppsala University in July 1750 and studied languages and the humanities. The professor of botany was the celebrated Carolus Linnaeus who was soon impressed by young Solander's ability and accordingly persuaded his father to let him study natural history. Solander traveled to England in June 1760 to promote the new Linnean system of classification. He was an assistant librarian at the British Museum from 1763 onwards, and elected as Fellow of the Royal Society in the following year. Afterwards he held the position of Keeper of Printed Books at the British Museum.

In 1768 Solander and his fellow scientist Dr. Herman Spöring were employed by Joseph Banks, to join him on James Cook's first voyage to the Pacific Ocean on board the Endeavour. They were the botanists who inspired the name Botanist Bay (which later became Botany Bay), Cook's expedition's first landing place in Australia. Solander helped make and describe an important collection of Australian plants while the Endeavour was beached at the site of present-day Cooktown for nearly 7 weeks, after being damaged on the Great Barrier Reef. These collections later formed the basis of Banks' Florilegium. On their return in 1771 Solander became Banks's secretary and librarian and lived in his house at Soho Square. In 1772 he accompanied Banks on his voyage to Iceland, the Faroes and the Orkney Islands. Between 1773 and 1782 he was Keeper of the Natural History Department of the British Museum. In 1773 he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Solander invented the book-form box known as the Solander box which is still used in libraries and archives as the most suitable way of storing prints, drawings, herbarium materials and some manuscripts. Solander died at Banks' home in Soho Square of a stroke, aged 49, at 9.30pm on 13 May 1782. An autopsy was performed the next day, and revealed a brain haemorrhage. References and links

  • 4 Sir Robert Cecil of Salisbury Commissioned Gardener Tradescant Initiated Tradescant in travelling by sending him to the Low Countries for fruit trees in 1610/11. Tradescant the Elder was Appointed his gardener at Hatfield House
  • 5 Mark Catesby (1682–1749) English naturalist/ field naturalist Major contribution in ornithology and in bird illustration.

Carolus Linnaeus included much of the information in the Natural History in the 10th edition of his Systema Naturae (1758).

  • Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward (1791-1868) English doctor who developed the "Wardian Case" for transporting plants
  • Sir Henry Alexander Wickham (1846-1928) British botanist, "bio-pirate and explorer"

A contact of Joseph Hooker's who was commissioned to acquire seeds of the rubber bearing tree Hevea brasiliensis from South America in 1876.

References and Links:

  • Berman Gates Dawes (1870-1956) Beman and his wife Bertie started the Dawes arboretum as "an endowed institution dedicated to the education of youth"

// this project is in History Link