The New Republic Gardener

Freedom's Gardener, James F. Brown, Horticulture, and the Hudson Valley in Antebellum America, by Myra B. Young Armstead, is a book about a slave who became a master gardener and died a freeman.  James F. Brown kept diaries between 1829-1866.  Professor of History at Bard College, NY, Armstead brings to light how the citizens of the New Republic were at once making money hand over fist while trying to define what constitutes  a good United States citizen of the New Republic.  If you were a gardener and a member of a horticulture society that certainly gave you an upper hand, at least for men, and unusually so for a black man, James F. Brown who worked as a master gardener in the Hudson Valley of NY.  "Fruit, trees, shrubs, vegetables, and flowers stood as an antidote to their engagement with crude, materialistic commercial pursuits…" Professor Armstead writes in reference to these men of immigrant fathers who became merchants of import.

Camellias, An Exhibit at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC Phelps Collection, Irvin Department of Rare and Special Books

Phelps Collection, Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina Libraries, Columbia, SC
Phelps Collection, Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina Libraries, Columbia, SC
The camellia is the subject of an online exhibit at the University of South Carolina, Phelps Memorial Collection of Garden Books.  Mrs. Sheffield Phelps and her daughter, Claudia Lea, (1930s-1950s) the donors of the Library's collection of garden books, were past presidents of the Garden Club of South Carolina and their garden, Rose Hill,  in Aiken was well-known for its trees, shrubs and camellias.
Phelps Collection, Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina Libraries, Columbia, SC
Phelps Collection, Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina Libraries, Columbia, SC
The origin of the name, camellia, can be traced to Georg Joseph Camel, a German Jesuit missionary and pioneer botanist in the Far East (1661-1706).  Another German, Andreas Cleper  brought back dried camellia specimens from Japan in the 1680s.  He named the plant, Thea chinensis.  The German botanical artist, Ehret used the Japanese name for the camellia plant, tsabekki.  The second colored plate shown here of the camellia ( images are from the Phelps Collection) was painted by George Edwards and is called, the "Chinese Rose" in Lord Petre Stoves at Thorndon Hall in Essex garden.  Edwards said, "I drew from nature, this beautiful flaming tree." This article was extracted from the text of Patrick Scott, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections.

Adrian Bloom’s Best Perennials at Horticulture Society of Maryland

Jacket Courtesy Timber Press
Jacket Courtesy Timber Press
Sunday, April 17, 2011  -  5 - 8 p.m.



Join us as Adrian Bloom of Blooms of Bressingham introduces us to his favorite garden plants and creative ways to use perennials and grasses in the year-round garden.  Over the decades his company, Blooms Nurseries, Ltd., England, has been responsible for introducing American gardeners to unique varieties of perennials for which he and his father, Alan, are internationally recognized.  You may know Adrian Bloom from his highly acclaimed book, Gardening with Conifers.  His new book Bloom's Best Perennials and Grasses; Expert Plant Choices and Dramatic Combinations for Year-Round Gardens will be the central theme of the evening.

THE EVENING INCLUDES: 5:00 - First lecture;   6:00 -  Light dinner & wine from Sasha's Silver Sac, book signing and sale of several favorite plants from the book;  7:00 - Second lecture and Q & A

For more information and to register online, visit our website:

Boxwood History, Growth and Historic Plantings

Morrison Garden, Courtesy U.S. National Arboretum website
Morrison Garden, Courtesy U.S. National Arboretum website
The second issue of, a companion site to and a multi-media venue for "green" educational subjects, published yesterday. We invite you to visit the gardens of Stratford Hall, the home of General Robert E. Lee, Colonial Williamsburg, the College of William and Mary, Hills & Dales in Georgia, and a famous topiary garden in the U.K.  Five podcasts from the "doyenne" of boxwood talk about the different cultivars of box, the easy growth in the right conditions, and the pathogen which attacks boxwood. Emphasis is also placed on the U.S. National Arboretum's collection of boxwood and its curator, Lynn Batdorf who is also the International Registrar for Boxwood. Each month audio and visual ways are used to spotlight our topic.  Next month we will concentrate on the beautiful spring shrub, azalea.  Thank you for reading and listening in.

‘Shimmer Clematis’, ‘Clematis Guiding Promise’, and ‘Help for Heroes’ Dahlias Prized at Royal Horticultural Society, Hampton Palace Court Garden Show

The Hampton Court Palace Garden show sponsored by the Royal Horticultural Society (the world's largest flower show), London, England, feature new roses, clematis and dahlias this year.  Clematis Nursery, owner Raymond Evison, is showing "Shimmer" as well as the "Clematis Guiding Promise".  It can be seen at the Girlguiding UK Centenary Garden.  Jon Wheatley and the Plant Heritage National Collection of Dahlias has developed a single flower dahlia called "Help for Heroes" with purple bronze leaves and and a magenta-scarlet flower. To see a video of the top ten plants to the Royal Horticultural Society website:

Copella Bee Garden, Hampton Court Palace Garden Flower Show, Royal Horticultural Society, London, England

Designer Sadie May Stowell shows how we can create 'bee-friendly' gardens in the Copella Bee Garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show sponsored by the Royal Horticultural Society, London, England. An interactive sculptural building with plantings chosen to attract bees was inspired by the bee's "waggle dance" and the garden reflects the journey from plant to hive. The Copella Bee Garden designed by Sadie May Stowell, built by Landscape Associates Ltd. and sponsored by Copella Fruit Juices heightens the awareness of the population decline of bees.
Designed by Sadie May Stowell (Sadie May Stowell Landscape Design)
The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK's leading gardening charity dedicated to advancing horticulture and promoting good gardening. Our goal is to help people share a passion for plants, to encourage excellence in horticulture and inspire all those with an interest in gardening. Find out more about the RHS and how we work