Listen up. Garden History Matters. It does and these are. The aim and hope of this blog is to 'up' the profile of this fascinating and diverse subject. And along the way to share some of the remarkable, quirky, bizarre and human stories that make garden history so enjoyable.
One of the many plants introduced by the plant hunter Ernest Wilson (who recently featured in this post) was the snappily-named Emmenopterys henryi. The species is named for Augustine Henry who discovered but did not introduce the tree. Henry, an Irishman who was employed by The Imperial Chinese Customs Service as an Assistant Medical Officer was sent to Yunnan to study medicinal plants, where he also made a huger herbarium collection which is now at RBG, Kew.
Arriving in Britain in 1907 at a time when Wilson was in the employ of the Veitch nursery, the tree which Wilson described as ‘one of the most strikingly beautiful...of the Chinese forests’ does not flower often. In fact, the specimen currently in bloom in the Cambridge University Botanic Garden is only the fifth to have flowered in Britain. So if you are in the vicinity, take the once-in-a-generation opportunity to see a rare beauty.