Showing 229 results

People & Organisations

Sherriff, Betty

  • Person
  • ?-1979

Betty Sherriff nee Graham was born at the turn of the century in British India in the Himalayan foothills. She was the youngest daughter of a Scottish vicar and missionary. Dr. Joh nAnderson Graham, who had founded the St. Andrew's Colonial Homes (now the Kalimpong Homes) on behalf of needy Indian children. She had previously been married and had a degree in Botany from Oxford.

Sources: Lost in Tibet: The Untold Story of Five American Airmen, a Doomed Plane, and the Will to Survive by Richard Starks and Miriam Murcutt

Primula by John Richards

Bulley, Arthur Kilpin (1861-1942)

  • BUL
  • Person
  • 1861-1942

Born Cheshire 1861; died Cheshire 1942
Arthur Bulley was the thirteenth of fourteen children of a wealthy Liverpool cotton broker and on leaving school joined the family business. As a young man he had a love of wild plants and in 1897 bought 24 hectares of farmland at Ness near Neston on the Wirral to build a new family home and create a garden. In 1896 he had started a correspondence with Professor Isaac Bayley Balfour, Regius Keeper at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) who was to become his mentor and lifelong friend. In 1904 Bulley started a commercial nursery at Ness which, a few years later, became Bee’s Ltd., and the search for new seeds and plants was on. In that year Bayley Balfour recommended George Forrest as a collector to send to North West Yunnan, a joint enterprise with the RGBE, with Bulley providing the finance. This was the beginning of a series of sponsorships of professional plant collectors including Frank Kingdon Ward and Roland Edgar Cooper, again recommended by Bayley Balfour, who made several trips to China and the Himalayas to provide stocks for Bee’s Nursery. The Nursery, which moved to Sealand near Chester in 1911, was a thriving business which sold not only rare shrubs and alpine plants including primula and meconopsis but supplied ‘penny packets’ of seeds to Woolworths for over 50 years. Bulley retired from the family cotton firm in 1922 but continued sponsoring plant collecting expeditions all over the world, usually as part of a syndicate, and also subscribed to the first Everest expedition. Arthur Bulley was a keen Socialist, shrewd businessman, eccentric and visionary. Primula bulleyana was named after him and after his death his daughter bequeathed Ness Gardens to the University of Liverpool.
Sources: R. Desmond ‘Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists’; Brenda McLean ‘A Pioneering Plantsman’

Cowan, Alexander

  • COA
  • Person
  • 1863-1943

Born 1863; died 1943
Alex Cowan was the grandson of Alexander Cowan, a papermaker and local benefactor of Valleyfield House, Penicuik, Midlothian. Educated at Loretto School and Cambridge University he developed a love of the flowers and ferns which grew in the gardens of Valleyfield House and his home, Dalhousie Castle as well as the family’s country seat at Logan. He acquired plants while travelling in Europe and established an important fern collection. Cowan was made a fellow of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh in 1900 and was later its President from 1937 to 1939. He was secretary of the Alpine Botanical Club between 1903 and 1924 and, reflecting his knowledge of and interest in ferns, was President of the British Pteridological Society from 1909 to 1920. In his later years he developed an interest in breeding sheep in his farms in the Pentland Hills. Following the family tradition of public service he was Provost of Penicuik Town Council for nine years and served on Midlothian County Council for forty.
Sources: R. Desmond ‘Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists’; Transactions of Botanical Society of Edinburgh obituary 1943

Craufurd, James, Lord Ardmillan

  • ARD
  • Person
  • 1805-1876

Born Hampshire 1805; died Edinburgh 1876.
Educated in Ayr, Edinburgh and at the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, James Crauford became an advocate in 1829, building a criminal practice in the justiciary and church courts. In 1849 he became sheriff of Perthshire and in 1853 was appointed solicitor-general for Scotland. He was made a lord of the court of session and then a lord of justiciary in 1855, taking the courtesy title of Lord Ardmillan after the name of his father’s estate in Ayrshire. He held both posts until his death at his residence in Charlotte Square, Edinburgh.
Source: Dictionary of National Biography

Davidian, Hagop H.

  • DHH
  • Person
  • 1907-2003

Born Cyprus 1907; died 2003
Hagop "David" Davidian graduated in botany from Edinburgh University in 1946 and in 1947 was offered a post at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh by Sir William Wright Smith, Regius Keeper, to work on the taxonomy of rhododendrons. Rhododendrons became his life long specialism and enthusiasm. He contributed regularly to the RHS Rhododendron and Camellia Yearbook and at one stage identified 2,000 rhododendrons from the Arnold Arboretum in the USA. Honoured twice by the RHS and in Sweden, after his retirement in 1972 he set to work writing, in four volumes, books on the genus based on the Balfourian system.
Source; cuttings and obituary files

Dickson, Prof. Alexander

  • DPA
  • Person
  • 1836-1887

Born Edinburgh 1836; died Peeblesshire 1887
Alexander Dickson graduated MD from Edinburgh University in 1860, lectured in botany at the University of Aberdeen and in 1866 was appointed to the chair of botany at Dublin University, returning to Scotland as professor of botany at Glasgow until 1879. He was then appointed professor of botany at Edinburgh University (the first appointee solely to this discipline) and Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden, a post he held from 1880 until his death. While in post he inherited a number of problems over integrating the Garden with the Arboretum which remained unresolved. He was regarded as an excellent research and field botanist, his studies including work on phyllotaxis, flower and embryo development and carnivorous plants. He published around 50 papers in a number of journals including the Transactions of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh, of which he was twice president. He died in 1887 while curling near his Peebleshire home.
Sources: Dictionary of National Biography; HR Fletcher and WH Brown ‘The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 1670-1970’; (Deni Bown, ‘4 Gardens in One’); (R. Desmond ‘Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists)

Fraser, Patrick Neill

  • FPN
  • Person
  • 1830-1905

Born Edinburgh 1830; died Edinburgh 1905
The son of William Fraser who was a partner in the Neill & Co. printing firm in Edinburgh, Patrick Neill Fraser took over the firm on the death of its owner, the naturalist Patrick Neill, in 1851. He established a renowned garden at his home, Rockville, in Murrayfield, Edinburgh specialising in alpine plants and both tender and hardy ferns, as well as polyanthus. He was treasurer of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society for 28 years and was also a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Royal Scottish Geographical Society.
Sources : R. Desmond ‘Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists; obituary folder

Henderson, Douglas Mackay

  • HDM
  • Person
  • 1927-2007

Born Perthshire 1927, died Ross-shire 2007
Douglas Henderson graduated BSc in botany from Edinburgh University in 1948, joining the civil service as a scientific officer in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries that year. He moved to the Royal Botanic Garden as a senior scientific officer in 1951 and was head of the non-flowering plant collections until 1970. He was library supervisor from 1961 to 1970 and also lectured in botany and plant physiology. A mycologist by training, he was involved in the start of the British Fungus Flora project and co-authored a book on British Rust Fungi. He became an authority on British flora, especially the plants of the Highlands. Douglas Henderson was appointed Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden in 1970. His time in office saw extensive developments in the Garden including completion of new glasshouses, a new alpine area and an expanded range of exhibition houses. The wider estate also grew with the acquisition of Dawyck Botanic Garden in Peeblesshire. During his period of office herbarium specimens increased by 250,000 to 1.8 million, including collections from an expanding programme of worldwide botanical explorations. And there was a rapid expansion of the library with a doubling of stock to 75,000 volumes and a developing international reputation; he personally led the introduction of the first electron microscope. Inverleith House in the centre of the gardens was re-opened as an exhibition space and Henderson was active in encouraging public engagement and growing educational links. Towards the end of Henderson’s term of office in 1986 the Royal Botanic Garden gained new status as a non-departmental public body accountable to a Board of Trustees. Douglas Henderson was awarded the CBE in 1985 and retired in 1987, moving to Wester Ross where initially he took on the role of administrator of the National Trust gardens at Inverewe.
Sources: Deni Bown, ‘4 Gardens in One’; obituary folder

Ingram, Professor David Stanley

  • IDS
  • Person
  • 1941-present

Born 1941

After taking a BSc and PhD at the University of Hull, David Ingram was appointed research fellow in the botany department at Glasgow University in 1966, before moving to Cambridge in 1969 where he became first a lecturer in 1974 then, in 1988, reader in plant pathology; he was also Fellow, Tutor and Director of Studies in Biology at Downing College. In 1990 he was appointed Regius Keeper at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, a post he held until 1998. During his time as Keeper David Ingram initiated and oversaw a wealth of dynamic changes in the Garden. His period of office saw the founding of a new commercial arm – the Botanics Trading Company (BTC), and the setting up of the Friends of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. He reemphasised the pre-eminence of plant science, establishing new Molecular and Ultrastructure research laboratories and established a Scientific Advisory Group to provide international research links. His enthusiasm for education led to the creation of new courses in both Horticulture (HND Plantsmanship) and Science (MSc Biodiversity & Taxonomy of Plants) the latter a joint course with the University of Edinburgh, and fuelled expansion in the public face of the four gardens. David Ingram was also passionate about teaching young people the importance of plant science in a dynamic new way, and helped to set up the Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS) initiative which enables active experimentation in the classroom. Since his retirement from the Garden in 1998 he has been advisor to the University of Edinburgh on public engagement with science, has served on many related trusts, boards and panels, and has contributed to a range of publications on plant pathology, plant tissue and botany and his wider interests in culture and the history of art.
Sources: Who’s Who 2015; Deni Bown, ‘4 Gardens in One’; foyer panel.

Johnstone, James Todd

  • JJT
  • Person
  • 1883-1953

Born Edinburgh 1883; died Edinburgh 1953.
James Johnstone studied botany as part of his M.A. degree at Edinburgh University and as a young man assisted his father in his antiquarian bookshop, gaining a sound knowledge of books, bookbinding and printing. In 1912 he was appointed, by Prof. Isaac Bayley Balfour, to become the first librarian at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh whose library had, by that time, grown to a considerable size. It was housed in various rooms and corridors and the system used to find each of the 4,000 volumes was to record the location on its cover and in a master catalogue. Johnstone held the library post for 35 years, but included time spent in the army during the First World War, and for many years was also Assistant Secretary to the Botanical Society of Edinburgh and edited its Transactions. He also edited and contributed to ‘Notes from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’ which Bayley Balfour had established in 1900 as the official scientific publication of the Garden. James Johnstone retired in 1946 and died in 1953.
Sources:HR Fletcher and WH Brown ‘The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 1670-1970’; Deni Bown, ‘4 Gardens in One’

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