This is the first full biography of the great Scottish plant collector Robert Fortune, famous for working in China and Japan from 1843 until 1861. This detailed presentation of his life includes an extensive analysis of his travels, plant collections and introductions, including the first maps ever produced of his collecting itineraries in China. Watt reveals that in order for Fortune to travel into the interior of China in search of new garden plants for the (later, Royal) Horticultural Society of London he had to adopt Chinese disguise, as it had been forbidden for Europeans to leave the confines of a few coastal Treaty ports. After the successful first expedition, Fortune made four more journeys to the Far East, including China, Taiwan and Japan in search of horticultural novelties. He succeeded admirably and very many of his discoveries are garden plants today. Two of his major expeditions were made in the employ of the British East India Company to aid the introduction of the tea industry into India and another expedition was carried out to investigate a possible tea industry in the USA. It has been a commonly accepted theme that Fortune was in some way 'a tea thief' and a 'spy'; the research in this book shows a completely different story. Using much new material Watt sets out to give a full account of the man, his explorations in 19th century China and the plants that he introduced into our gardens.
Roses, jasmine, fuchsia, chrysanthemums, and rhododendrons bloom in gardens across the world, and yet many of the most common varieties have roots in Asia. How is this global flowering possible? In 1829, surgeon and amateur naturalist Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward placed soil, dried leaves, and the pupa of a sphinx moth into a sealed glass bottle, intending to observe the moth hatch. But when a fern and meadow grass sprouted from the soil, he accidentally discovered that plants enclosed in glass containers could survive for long periods without watering. After four years of experimentation in his London home, Ward created traveling glazed cases that would be able to transport plants around the world. Following a test run from London to Sydney, Ward was proven correct: the Wardian case was born, and the botanical makeup of the world’s flora was forever changed. In our technologically advanced and globalized contemporary world, it is easy to forget that not long ago it was extremely difficult to transfer plants from place to place, as they often died from mishandling, cold weather, and ocean salt spray. In this first book on the Wardian case, Luke Keogh leads us across centuries and seas to show that Ward’s invention spurred a revolution in the movement of plants—and that many of the repercussions of that revolution are still with us, from new industries to invasive plant species. From the early days of rubber, banana, tea, and cinchona cultivation—the last used in the production of the malaria drug quinine—to the collecting of beautiful and exotic flora like orchids in the first great greenhouses of the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, DC, and England’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Wardian case transformed the world’s plant communities, fueled the commercial nursery trade and late nineteenth-century imperialism, and forever altered the global environment.
RHS Staff Pick of the Year 2021 Spectator Gardening Book of the year 2021 'A refreshingly insightful history of plant introductions.' - Roy Lancaster Travel the world with extraordinary tales of the botanical discoveries that have shaped empires, built (and destroyed) economies, revolutionised medicine and advanced our understanding of science. Circling the globe from Australia's Botany Bay to the Tibetan plateau, from the deserts of Southern Africa to the jungles of Brazil, this book presents an incredible cast of characters - dedicated researchers and reckless adventurers, physicians, lovers and thieves. Meet dauntless Scots explorer David Douglas and visionary Prussian thinker Alexander von Humboldt, the 'Green Samurai' Mikinori Ogisu and the intrepid 17th century entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian - the first woman known to have made a living from science. Beautifully illustrated with over 100 botanical artworks from the archives of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, this absorbing book tells the stories of how plants have travelled across the world - from the missions of the Pharaohs right up to 21st century seed-banks and the many new and endangered species being named every year. *** THE ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, KEW is a world-famous research organisation and a major international visitor attraction. It harnesses the power of its science, the rich diversity of its gardens and collections to unearth why plants and fungi matter to everyone. Its aspiration is to end the extinction crisis and help create a world where nature and biodiversity are protected, valued and managed sustainably.
This edited volume presents new research on Russian-Asian connections by historians, art historians, literary scholars, and linguists. Of particular interest are imagined communities, social networks, and the legacy of colonialism in this important arena of global exchanges within the imperial, Soviet, and post-Soviet eras. Individual chapters investigate how Russians imagined Asia and its inhabitants, how these different populations interacted across political and cultural divides, and how people in Siberia, China, and other parts of Asia reacted to Russian imperialism, both in its formal and informal manifestations. A key strength of this volume is its interdisciplinary approach to the topic, challenging readers to synthesize multiple analytical lenses to better understand the multivalent connections binding Russia and Asia together.
Drawing its allure from the gold of the sun and the rule of the emperors, the chrysanthemum winds its way through ancient Chinese culture into the gardens of French impressionist painters and onto the pages of American novels. The flower signifies both life and death, as parts of Europe associate it with mourning while others celebrate it for its golden rays that light the autumnal gloom. In this fascinating book, Twigs Way follows the fortunes of the flower through philosophy, art, literature, and death, recounting the stories of the men and women who became captivated by this extraordinary bloom. With a range of vibrant illustrations, including works by Hiroshige, Monet, and Mondrian, Chrysanthemum will captivate lovers of art, flowers, history, and culture.
An illuminating account of global commerce in the eighteenth-century Indian Ocean world as seen through the lives of three Scottish traders This book delves into the lives of three Scottish private traders—George Smith of Bombay, George Smith of Canton, and George Smith of Madras—and uses them as lenses through which to explore the inner workings of Britain’s imperial expansion and global network of trade, revealing how an unstable credit system and a financial crisis ultimately led to greater British intervention in India and China.
Among America's garden cities, one of the most remarkably beautiful is New Orleans. Now the exotic New Orleans garden can live not only in romance but also in settings very close to home. Whether in the Vieux Carre or in the humid hinterlands, anyone hoping to recreate such a romantic spot in the climes of the Gulf Coast region should consult Charlotte Seidenberg's essential handbook.In this new edition of a favorite manual among New Orleans gardeners, Seidenberg instructs how to create a beautiful garden in this subtropical, sometimes richly alluvial zone and identifies plants that over generations have become a part of the gardening heritage of New Orleans. She discusses such basics as soil preparation and pest control and advises the gardener on how to grow roses, native and exotic trees and shrubs, vines, annuals, perennials, ferns, wildflowers, bulbous and tuberous plants, and groundcovers. She instructs how best to create specialty gardens such as container gardens and herb gardens. Like many other gardeners today, she is ecology-conscious, strongly advocating that one should garden not only for beauty but also for attracting wildlife.