Lucy Cranwell’s Botany Trots

Here's a little story about the New Zealand botanist Lucy Cranwell who was born on this day in 1907.

Imagine yourself at 21? What were you doing?

Well, at 21, Lucy was appointed the curator at the Auckland Museum.

Barely more than a child herself, Lucy had a unique talent for engaging young students.  Ever-encouraging and relatable, Lucy sparked a love of horticulture in her students.

Lucy, herself, had an excellent teacher growing up in the form of her father, who was a trained nurseryman. Lucy grew up helping with the large orchard on their property. 

It's no wonder then that Lucy loved exploring and being in the field. During her days at the University Field Club, her peers knew her as the strongest and fastest walker at the University.

One of Lucy‘s dearest friends was the botanist Lucy Beatrice Moore. The two Lucys went on many botanical field trips together. It was a common practice during these trips to sleep out in the open in a sleeping bag. There were many mornings when the women woke to find themselves covered in frost.

Lucy Cranwell served as the curator in Auckland for 14 years. During that time, she collected over 4,000 plants for the herbarium, and she created something she called "Botany Trots" - a term I absolutely adore.

Botany Trots were these little botanical excursions for the children of New Zealand. Now, isn't that sweet? 

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Lucy Cranwell
Lucy Cranwell

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