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John Tradescant the younger introduced the pelargonium to England in the 1600's.......(December 24, 2016)
John Tradescant the younger
THE 2 JOHN TRADESCANT’s
John the elder and John the younger are well known and respected within UK gardening history as both are attributed with having introduced many plants to our Isles that we still enjoy in our gardens today. Both Tradescants were employed as gardeners (between 1570 to 1662) in various large houses in the South of England, including Royal gardens. It is this connection with the English nobility that afforded them both the opportunity to travel overseas, search out unknown plant specimens and bring these back to our shores. It is interesting to note that the Tradescants were both of English birth but possibly having a past family connection originating from France. Neither John Tradescant had connections with the Netherlands as is often mentioned.
John the elder mainly amassed his ‘overseas’ plant collection via friends’ donations and there is divided thought on how often he travelled and returned to England with new plant introductions; it is recorded that he did indeed travel to other countries on many occasions although little is known of his finds.
John Tradescant the younger is accredited with introducing the pelargonium genera to the UK; although for a good couple of hundred years the different types of pelargoniums were all referred to as geraniums and it is this original naming that created the continuing mix up. He is also known to have brought back many trees, shrubs and perennials that we still enjoy today.
On his death in 1662 John the younger was buried alongside his father at the churchyard of St Mary at Lambeth and it is here that you will find the Museum of Garden History.
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