George Glenny

The Horticultural Hornet

Today on May 17, 1874, the horticultural hornet, George Glenny died. He was 83 years old.

Glenny was an opinionated gardener. Known for his sharp tongue and difficult personality, he was called the horticultural hornet by Will Tjaden. He was critical of John Claudius Loudon, Joseph Paxton, and Joseph Harrison. And yet, he was benevolent; assisting the efforts of numerous charities and causes during his time; including the Duke of York Column in London.

Glenny started the Horticultural Journal, which was followed in 1837 with the first garden newspaper, The Gardeners' Gazette. These early accomplishments brought Glenny much satisfaction; he knew his work was taken to heart by his readers and his suggestions were being acted upon. As the editor of his paper wrote,

"There will be few to deny that his vigorous pen has contributed as much as, that of any single writer to the great and ever-increasing popularity of gardening amongst the people."

Through it all, Glenny was a devoted garden writer; sharing his knowledge of gardening with the people, week in and week out, through the very first gardening column and through numerous other articles and writings. His books were affordable; anyone could buy them - and they did. During the Victorian age, Glenny was an active contributor to garden literature. No doubt Glenny's advice was swirling about in the heads of many new gardeners.

After researching George Glenny, I came across his obituary which appeared in Lloyd's weekly newspaper ten days after his passing.

It talked about how for 25 years, Mr. Glenny's Garden article had faithfully appeared in the paper. In fact, he had sent his last column to the editor only a day or two before his death.

Glenny had titled his article "A Few Words For Myself". But, then, he must've had a change of heart because he had crossed that out. Whatever new title he thought would be better never made it onto the page. His readers no doubt were moved by his recollections - especially since they knew by then that Glenny was gone. Here's what he wrote about his life:

"Sixty-seven years ago I had a very fine collection of auriculas and of twenty rows of tulips, and visited several good amateur cultivators, from whom I received great encouragement and occasionally presents of flowers and plants.

I cultivated my stock at Hackney.

I was soon old enough to attend floral meetings, and there were plenty of them at Bethnal-green, Hoxton, Islington, Hackney, and other suburban localities.

And from observation of the doings of the most successful amateurs I had become a very successful grower of the auricula, the tulip, ranunculus, polyanthus, and other florists' flowers.

I had learned something from everybody and took many prizes.

I then, at the earnest request of some real friends of floriculture, wrote treatises upon all the flowers I had cultivated, and they were all founded on my own practice."

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George Glenny
George Glenny

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