"Forget not me & my garden"
Today is the birthday of a Fellow of the Royal Society, an avid gardener, and a friend to many scientific leaders in the mid-18th century in the city of London, Peter Collinson.
Peter Collinson introduced nearly 200 species of plants to British horticulture - importing many from his friend John Bartram in America.
When the American gardener John Custis learned that Collinson was looking for the mountain cowslip (Primula auricula), he happily sent him a sample. Auricula means ear-shaped, and the mountain cowslip is Commonly known as a bear's ear from the shape of its leaves. The cowslip is a spring-flowering plant, and it is native to the mountainous areas of Europe.
Custis also sent Collinson a Virginia Bluebell Or Virginia cowslip ( Mertensia virginica). This plant is another Spring Beauty I can be found in Woodlands. The blue about Virginia Bluebell is so striking, and it's an old fashioned favorite for many gardeners. The Virginia Bluebell is also known as lungwort or oyster wort. The plant was believed to have medicinal properties for treating lung disorders, and the leaves taste like oysters. Virginia bluebells bloom alongside daffodils, so you end up with a beautiful yellow and blue combination together in the garden - something highly coveted and absolutely gorgeous. Collinson was not the only gardener in search of Virginia bluebells. Thomas Jefferson grew them at Monticello and loved them so much that they were often referred to as Jefferson's blue funnel flowers. Monticello ("MontiCHELLo”)
Collinson once wrote, "Forget not me & my garden." Given Peter’s influence on English gardens, he would be pleased to know that, after all these years, he has not been forgotten.
In 2010, the author Andrea Wulf popularized Collinson in the book The Brother Gardeners: A Generation of Gentlemen Naturalists and the Birth of an Obsession- one of my favorite books, by one of my favorite authors.