RBGE acknowledges that our collections contain historic materials which may contain, either in their content or catalogue descriptions, terminology which is inappropriate, outdated, offensive or distressing. Such information does not reflect the current views and values of RBGE. We welcome feedback about the language in our catalogues. While we cannot change fixed attributes connected to items in the collection (e.g. published titles, names or contents) we will always consider requests for changes to be made to other aspects of the records in our catalogues. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
I Understand and Wish to Continue or Return to Home Page
2 limited edition hand coloured multi block wood engravings showing the plantsman Reginald Farrer created in 2015 by artist Abigail Rorer of the Lone Oak Press. There is also accompanying correspondence detailing the donation.
Seven samples of wood displayed at the International Forestry Exhibition held in Edinburgh in 1884 - all are labelled with "Sierra Leone, Edinburgh Forestry Exhibition, 1884" - additional markings are as follows:
No 5, Gree-Gree, Greegree, 1884.83.31
Koronko, Coronko, Kronko, 1884.83.39
Oak, [Teak scored out], 1884.83.41
Conta-Cobang, Contabang, Cotan Cobang, 1884.83.43
Koondee, Cundee, 1884.83.46
White Brimstone, 1884.83.47 The Exhibition Catalogue indicates that the Government of Sierra Leone had a stand at the exhibition where they displayed "Specimens of the Woods of the Colony, native, polished 1865, redone 1884" - it is assumed that these may have been part of this display.
A collection of 13 letters purchased at auction in 2008, written by Reginald Farrer and most likely sent to the British Diplomat Ernest Frederick Gye C.M.G., though Farrer tends to refer to him as his “Poison”, “Viper” or “Venom”. Gye's mother was the singer Dame Emma Albani and his father was Ernest Gye, the lessee of Covent Garden theatre. Gye entered the Foreign Office in 1903, became Second Secretary in 1908 and Councillor in 1924. He served for some years in Tehran in the earlier part of his career (and where he was when these letters were written) before being appointed Minister and Consul General in Tangier in 1933. Three years later he was made Minister Plenipotentiary in Venezuela, retiring in 1939. The 13 letters were written in Upper Burma (now Myanmar), mainly from Hpimaw and Nyitadi, and date between May 1919 and September 1920, the last being written only five weeks before his death. The letters are liberally peppered with nicknames and gossip, and the identity of everyone mentioned may never be known; for example, his 1919 travelling companion, fellow plant collector Euan Cox, is often referred to by the name “Jumps”. In amongst intimate information and personal references are descriptions of the country, people met and plants collected.
Collection consists of Mairi Planner's research into the Edinburgh nurserymen Downie, Laird and Laing, including material used in exhibiting the research. Mairi's great great grandfather Andrew Robertson Annan worked for the firm in the 1860s before moving to the Ravelston Estate in Edinburgh where he became Head Gardener - in researching him, Planner became interested in the nurserymen he worked for.
Plant labels found by members of the RBGE Horticulture Department and transferred to the Archives: 1: Magnolia acuminata, United States - found to the east of the copse, RBGE; a label intended to hang from the tree, this type of label had the impressed letters painted white by hand, then the entire label was hand painted black - would have been surrounded by a metal holder which has since decomposed - probably dates to around 1940? 2: Ilex laevigata; a temporary label found during excavations for the new Alpine House, 2012 - small label attached to wire which would have been pushed into the ground - probably dates to c.1960? 3: Viburnum dilatatum, c.1960? - temporary label from new Alpine House area. 4: Viburnum farreri - 'layers' - found in Nursery, troughs area - used when 'layering' viburnum - obtaining shoots from roots or branches. 5: Alpinia calcarata 6: Rhododendron hodgsonii 7: LA47
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Horticulture Department
The medal is a silver Royal Horticultural Societ Joseph Banks medal and is inscribed 1929 Junior Section General Examination in Horticulture William A Hughes First. In 1987 Hughes made contact with Roy Watling at RBGE and donated his medal - both men had been office bearers for the Botanical Society of Scotland. The medal, and eventually the certificate and all associated correspondence came to the care of M.V. Mathew in the library who placed them in the Archives.