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The Hidden Horticulturists


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Table of Contents

1: 'The beau ideal': The Horticultural Elite 2: 'Much judgement and good taste': The Gardeners Who Set Standards 3: 'A great number of deserving men': Life Lower Down the Horticultural Ladder 4: 'The most splendid plant I ever beheld': The Collector 5: 'Much attached to Egypt': Travelling Gardeners 6: 'Young foreigners of respectability': Trainees from Abroad 7: 'A little order into chaos': The Fruit Experts 8: 'For sale at moderate prices': The Nurserymen 9: 'A solitary wanderer': The Australian Adventurer 10: 'Habits of order and good conduct': The Rise and Fall of a Head Gardener 11: 'A very respectable-looking young man': Criminals in the Garden

About the Author

Fiona Davison studied history at the University of Oxford and joined the RHS in 2012 as its Head of Libraries and Exhibitions. She appears frequently on television and radio to talk about garden history and has written numerous articles and features on the subject. This is her first book.


Delightful... The Hidden Horticulturists pulsates with the extraordinary energy and excitement of the time.
*Daily Mail*

The chance discovery by the author, the RHS's chief librarian, of a notebook led to this excellent page-turner.
*'Top Ten Gardening Books of the Year', Sunday Telegraph*

This book by the head librarian of the RHS is a cracker... A highly original piece of research into the lives of jobbing gardeners in the early 19th century, with plenty of fascinating social background.
*Gardens Illustrated*

The rise and progress of the Victorian head gardener is a tale of ever-increasing professionalism in a developing world of technological progress, artistic revolution and endless plant novelties... It's time their story was told.
*Country Life*

The story of a cadre of promising young men who qualified as gardeners in the early 19th century... What is refreshing is that nearly all the names unearthed will be unfamiliar, even to garden historians... Davison has conducted deep research into the later careers of most of these gardeners, discovering what happened to them after they left Chiswick. The result is a revealing insight into the lives of aspiring working men in this period.
*Literary Review*

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