Plant hunting

Much of the South West is peppered with the findings of Victorian plant hunters, from gardens of world renown to secret little glens. The climate on the peninsular is ideal for the exotic specimens brought back from all corners of the globe – and the micro-climate of Glen Goyle seems particularly suited to some wonderful plantings.

The pages which follow look at the plant hunters and what they brought back with them from their extensive travels – much of which ended up as part of the world’s first civic arboretum, which provides the context for the Glen.

Below is an index to pages on plants and their discoverers under Plant hunting – Friends of Glen Goyle

The Veitch Nurseries started out in Exeter, before expanding to Chelsea:

The Veitch Nurseries – Friends of Glen Goyle

The above pages contain a wealth of information; below are a few excerpts showing the importance of the Veitch collection:

The Veitch Nurseries /ˈviːtʃ/ were the largest group of family-run plant nurseries in Europe during the 19th century… The firm had, by the outbreak of the First World War, introduced 1281 plants into cultivation. Veitch Nurseries – Wikipedia

Started by John Veitch sometime before 1808, the original nursery grew substantially over several decades and was eventually split into two separate businesses – based at Chelsea and Exeter – as it became unfeasible to run the whole operation from one location. The Veitch family probably influenced horticulture in Britain and around the world more than any single family had done before them or is likely to be able to do again. COSGB: J. Veitch & Sons

Twenty-three different plant hunters were sent out by the firm at one time or another. Men such as the Cornish brothers Thomas and William Lobb, Charles Maries, Richard Pearce and Ernest Wilson all of whom discovered plants in difficult to reach foreign lands, often risking their lives in search of seeds or plants. Members of the Veitch family too discovered important plants and many were named after them in recognition of their endeavours. Veitch Family History | About Us | St Bridget Nurseries Exeter