In 1853, the botanist John Torrey named a new and remarkable variety of pitcher-plant found in California for Darlington, calling it Darlingtonia Californica. He had been similarly honored but Augustin de Candolle who named a genus after him.
Darlington's large herbarium and works were bequeathed to the Chester County Cabinet of Natural Science.
He was buried in the Oaklands Cemetery, near West Chester.
An epitaph in Latin is inscribed on his stone marker, written by Darlington some twenty years before his death:
"Plantae Cestrienses, quas dilexit atque illustravit, super tumulum ejus semper floreant" or May the plants of Chester, which he loved and documented, forever blossom over his grave.
And, Darlington's tombstone is crowned with a relief of Darlingtonia californica.
After leaving in 1903, Harbison was the only Biltmore collector who went on to work purely as a botanist. He brought at tention to over 100 new or little known tree species as a field representative for Charles Sprague Sargent at Harvard's Arnold Arboretum. When Harbison came to Highlands, North Carolina looking for specimens for Harvard, he found such a treasure of botanical specimens that he made the Highlands his home. Harbison said that he regarded the Highlands a botanical paradise of wild plants which he attributed to the fact that the area had escaped the great glacier movements that formed much of the world.
Thomas Harbison died in his sleep at the age of 74.
Harvard botany Professor William Chambers Coker said,
"Mr. Harbison was a man of the highest character and of warm, human feeling. In his death the University loses nationally a great botanist, but a delightful companion."
Today, the Thomas Grant Harbison House is a historic house at 2930 Walhalla Road, just outside Highlands, North Carolina. The trees on the property date back to Harbison and include a grove of hemlock [Tsuga canadensis], white pine [Pinus strobus], and oak [Quercus sp.] trees. Harbison is recorded as planting the group of six Florida nutmeg trees on the east side of the house. It is believed Harbison secured them on one of his collecting expeditions for the Arnold Arboretum.
A willow named Falix Har-bisonii (ii = "ee-eye") and a hawthorn named "Crataegus 'Harbosinii (ii = "ee-eye")" native to the country surrounding Nashville, were named to honor Thomas Harbison.
#OTD Today is the birthday of William Shakespeare. He was born on this day in 1564.
The Bard's works are loaded with references to plants and gardens.
Roses are referred to around a hundred times by Shakespeare, probably influenced to some extent by their link to the Tudor dynasty as well as the flower’s own obvious merits.
Winter's Garden Act 4 Scene 4
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 2, Scene 2
Oberon: I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night
Today's book recommendation
This week in 1984, the New York Times reviewed eight new gardening books and today's book selection was on that list: ''A Wild Flower Alphabet'' by Elizabeth Cameron.
Cameron is a watercolorist who lives near Moray Firth in Scotland, and she composed this alphabet for her grandchildren. The delightful messages describing the flowers on each page are hand-lettered. The description says it is "just right for a rainy day" and "a delightful picture-book".
Today's Garden Chore
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
When I was researching Thomas Harbison, I came across some wonderful newspaper accounts of summer parties held for the staff - including the nurserymen and landscape department - at Biltmore.
Here's one from the 4th of July, 1900.
The athletic sports for the employees of the Biltmore estate yesterday afternoon were greatly enjoyed, though the contestants were under a disadvantage owing to the hot weather.
The result of the events and the prizes were as follows:
100 yards dash Won by T. G. Harbison, $2; 2d, Hal. Lipe, $1.
Tug of war Won by landscape department team, trophy and $1 each man.
Broad jump Won by A. T. Davidson, $3, 2d, T. G. Harbison, $1
Running high Jump Won by J. W. Young, $2; 2d, T. G. Harbison, $1.
That was a total of $5 in winnings for Thomas Harbison.
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