Archives for gardening

#Familyhistory Was your relative a #gardener at a country house?

We are all familiar with the life upstairs downstairs at a great house thanks to Downton Abbey and Gosford Park. What is less familiar is the outside job of gardener to a wealthy family. The life is governed by the seasons and has evolved from a menial task to a highly skilled and qualified position. Gardeners have been employed to grow fruit, vegetables and to manage sometimes huge formal gardens, since Tudor times. And many more intrepid men and women changed gardening into what it is we recognise today. For example, father and son gardeners John and John Tradescant [below] travelled the world collecting plant specimens. John the father sailed to the Arctic Circle and fought Barbary pirates on the coast of Algeria. His son John sailed to America. Father and son were both, in turn, appointed Royal Gardener. So, having a gardener in your family tree could be very interesting! Where to search for your relative Gardeners employed at large houses should be found in the wages books, garden accounts or the  records of estate management. Start first at the National Archives Discovery catalogue. Also try regional trade directories, the autobiographies of landowners and histories of stately homes. Try local newspapers
Read More

Categories: Family history research.

A poem to read in the bath… ‘Tulips’

Anyone who enjoys gardening understands this poem, the feeling of planning for a garden of the future, digging, sowing, hoping, and then the temporary feeling of joy when the flowers appear. To be replaced again by the annual cycle of planning, digging and sowing. Wendy Cope obviously has a garden. Because of copyright restrictions I am unable to reproduce the poem in full, but please search it out in an anthology or at your local library. ‘Tulips’ Months ago, I dreamed of a tulip garden, Planted, waited, watched for their first appearance, Saw them bud, saw greenness give way to colours, Just as I’d planned them.   ‘If I Don’t Know’ by Wendy Cope [UK: Faber]  Read these other excerpts, and perhaps find a new poet to love:- ‘The Boy Tiresias’ by Kate Tempest ‘The Roses’ by Katherine Towers ‘Elegy of a Common Soldier’ by Dennis B Wilson And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A #poem to read in the bath: ‘Tulips’ by Wendy Cope via @SandraDanby SaveSave
Read More

Categories: Poetry.