Spring may have got off to a slow start (brrr!) but now it’s here we in the Iron Room are all getting very excited about gardens and gardening! First we had fantastic success at the Chelsea Flower Show with Birmingham City Council’s Library of Birmingham themed display “Enlightenment” which won a gold medal. If you missed it at Chelsea, you can catch it again at the BBC’s Gardener’s World Live event. If all that wasn’t exciting enough the Library is looking for volunteers to help with the outdoor beds in the new Library’s terrace gardens. We can’t wait to move to the new Library to enjoy the new outdoor spaces.
Meanwhile we’ve been digging around, if you’ll excuse the pun, to look at some of the many archive collections we have relating to gardens and gardening and one of my favourites is the volume known as “Select Flowers, Vol. III”. It doesn’t sound much but it contains some exquisite botanical illustrations dating from about 1825.
There are more images from this volume in a previous post
It was created by the Handsworth-based draftsman and botanical artist Luke Linnaeus Pope. Named after the great Swedish biologist and botanist of the eighteenth century Carl LinnaeusBloomin who developed a scientific classification system still used today.
Luke Linnaeus Pope worked for the family nursery which had been established by his grandfather, Luke, in about 1786 and then passed to Luke Linnaeus’ father John Pope (1772-1850). John’s three sons Luke Linnaeus, Alexander and Leonard were also in the nursery business and at its height sold plants to many prestigious customers including James Watt junior, son of James Watt the engineer, who lived at Aston Hall between 1818 and 1848. We are lucky enough to be able to trace exactly which plants were bought because of the rich survival of records from the Watt family which are in the archive collections in the Library.
Aston Hall was subsequently acquired by the City and you can now visit the Aston Hall and Gardens and get some garden inspiration for yourself!