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A thank you to George Forrest

bjs

By bjs

10 comments


This little story dates back to 1981 to an Alpine garden expedition to the Yunnan and as part of my seed allocation I Received seed of Primula Forrestii which germinated for me (until then they had been rare in cultivation) these plants had farinose on the underside of the leaf where previous collections did not,the ones you see here are direct descendants of those seed,
In my showing days they were regular first prize winners and a plant that has always had a special place with me .
they can be long lived 12 years is my best but in the wild much more.I am not aware of them being grown in the open ground in the UK but someone somewhere may have.

George Forrest 1873–1932
The greatest collector of all was arguably George Forrest, the foremost collector of Yunnan flora. He amassed hundreds of species of rhododendron and other shrubs and perennials. He brought back approximately 31,000 plant specimens and the name forrestii still adorns more than thirty plant genus.
In 1924 Forrest also discovered Camellia saluenensis, which formed the basis of the hardy Williams hybrid camellias which we grow in gardens all over the UK. He died of a heart attack in Yunnan in 1932 after a plant hunting career that included fighting off xenophobic Tibetan “lamas” and succumbing to malaria.
What motivated the plant hunters was not personal gain, as very few became rich. They were not even motivated by fame as their names are only really familiar to keen gardeners through the plants they bequeathed to us.

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Comments

 

Lovely, interesting blog Brian. I am pleased to have a bit of George in my my garden, the tree, Acer davidii 'George Forrest'. I will post a pic when its fully in leaf.

15 May, 2016

 

That primula is spectacular!

15 May, 2016

 

They were wonderful men, and we owe them a great debt. When you think what they went through, sometimes only to lose most of the collection in shipwrecks etc it brings home how motivated they must have been.
Your primula is great - bursting with health - you could imagine it is smiling!

15 May, 2016

 

Its mindblowing when you think of it. All that way, with all those hazards, to bring back plant samples...many of which were dead by the time they got home. John Fraser is one of my favourites for obvious reasons! Looking at his life, his motivation can only have been plant obsession. He certainly didn't leave a fortune, but he was inspired by Chelsea Physic Garden. Having been there twice myself, I can really understand why so many have found inspiration there. I'm glad it has survived through all the industrial and commercial upheaval!

16 May, 2016

 

Oh...forgot to say...that Primula is beautiful Brian! I've never seen anything like it.

16 May, 2016

 

Beautiful pictures of a beautiful plant - it looks to be super healthy - how are you growing it Brian - is it in a pot within a pot and what mix ? - and will it winter in your cold house or outside? - so many questions sorry !

16 May, 2016

 

That is a lovely plant Bjs. I was lucky enough to get seeds when Jim Jermin came along to one of the Edinburgh SRGC meetings recently and brought some seeds. I have them in the greenhouse in a pot as they apparently like dry conditions. How long do you think it will be before they flower after germination.

16 May, 2016

bjs
Bjs
 

Jane & Sheila they have a strong tap root so the double potting served two purposes originally to allow the root to grow further down without undue disturbance also you may also have noticed the inner pot is clay the outer plastic that has mostly sand in it, this allows me most of the time to water the outer one and the moisture passes through the clay fine throughout the winter but some watering direct into the inner one in warm weather is required so agree Sheila not to wet,you say your seed is in the glass house I would say better out it will be difficult to keep an even temperature 16/18 c which is a good average i find for germinating most Primula ,September now most likely for germination,but of course you are not in Bristol so may be different.
Jane they are fine in a cold house but best in a sand plunge,like so many it is winter damp not cold that they dislike.My own mix JI type with extra grit.

16 May, 2016

 

This is a super plant. I love the colour.

25 May, 2016

 

Thank you for that advice. Pot now in the garden. It is freezing here again

26 May, 2016

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