Mary Somerset

Duchess of Beaufort

Today is the anniversary of the death of Mary Somerset, Duchess of Beaufort ("BOH-fert").

She was an avid gardener and botanist. She survived two husbands and had eight children. After she was widowed a second time, she focused all of her discretionary effort on gardening. The best horticultural minds of her time helped Mary with her efforts: George London, Lenard Plukenet, and William Sherard. Her next-door neighbor was Sir Hans Sloane, and when Mary died, she (like almost every plant-lover of her era) left her herbarium and other valuable botanical items to him. This is how Hans Sloane became a one-man Botanical Repository. Among Mary's many descendants are Princess Diana and the genus Beaufortia was named in her honor by Robert Brown.

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Mary Somerset
Mary Somerset

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