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Celebrating 250 years of Thomas Andrew Knight

Posted by Jean Vernon on 26 May 2009 at 02:20 PM

 It seems to me that a few things slipped under the radar at this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

One exhibit was celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of  one of the very first Presidents of the London Horticultural Society. This is the very same Society that was given the Royal warrant by the Prince Consort in 1864 and became the Royal Horticultural Society.


 Thomas Andrew Knight was a botanist and horticulturalist with a special interest in fruit. The Hartley Botanic stand on the Triangle at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show was designed to reflect the life and influences of this great man.

Staged with the period stylists and experts from Period Living Magazine, the glasshouses were an inspirational mix of 18th century inspired charm.

"Basically the idea was that we base it on the work of Thomas Andrew Knight, because it is his 250th anniversary this year," explained Period Living Editor Sarah Whelan, "although he seems to be a rather forgotten figure he was actually the President of what was the London Horticultural society which became the Royal Horticultural Society in 1865. He was a great fruit grower and interested in everything natural. He started off in his brother's house in Herefordshire and was doing experiments with plants about the gravity and rising of the sap. He was quite ahead of his time but he wasn't very good at recording it all or using it. But he was friends with members of the London Horticultural Society and he got pulled in. They thought his work was so good they asked him to be President."

The contents of the main glasshouse was filled with interesting artefacts inspired by the period. A cabinet of curiosities reflected the interest at that time in classification of anything natural.



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