Tag Archives: South Africa

Welwitschia mirabilis: “the ugliest plant in creation”?

What a mouthful that is! Even worse when you realise it’s the Latin name of a bizarre plant ‘discovered’ by a man born in the Austrian Empire of Slovak origin, who worked for the Portuguese monarchy in one of their African … Continue reading

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The further adventures of Francis Masson – the man with itchy feet

Last week’s post finished with Francis Masson returning to Kew in 1775 after a  successful plant collecting expedition to the Cape of Good Hope.  But he was clearly a man with itchy feet so the following year he was off again … Continue reading

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How Francis Masson found the world’s oldest pot plant…and a few other things

“The country is encompassed on all sides with very high mountains, almost perpendicular, consisting of bare rocks, without the last appearance of vegetation; and upon the whole, has a most melancholy effect on the mind.”   So wrote Francis Masson … Continue reading

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Capability Brown and Africa… did you really say Africa?

I’ve just returned from a month in southern Africa and was bowled over by the range of plants and landscapes that I encountered in the western Cape and Namibia.  I can’t stop enthusing about what I saw but wondered how … Continue reading

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Joseph Knight & his Exotic Nursery

We tend to think of gardeners being poor – unless of course they’re celebs on the box – and it’s hard to think of many gardeners in history who became rich.  But there are exceptions and one such was Joseph … Continue reading

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