A Biography of Alicia Amherst, founder of Garden History
By Sue Minter
Distributed by Trans-Atlantic Publications
124 pages, Illustrated
Alicia Amherst was a distinguished Victorian and Edwardian horticulturist whose seminal book, A History of Gardening in England, was enormously influential in its time, running to three editions, and can still be enjoyed by today’s readers – if they can find a copy. For this, and her other published works have not been reprinted since the 1930s and are now rather rare. In particular, London Parks and Gardens (1907) and Historic Gardens of England (1938) are important historical records, the first of which has never really been superseded in the comprehensive treatment of its subject.
She was the recipient of many honours during her lifetime, but the one which gave her the greatest pleasure was being given the freedom of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners in 1896. This is the first biography of Alicia Amherst and it reveals a woman of remarkable gifts and energy. Not only was she passionate about plants and gardens, being both an observant botanist and a very practical gardener, she was active in politics, becoming prominent in the British Women's Emigration Association and, after World War I, in the Society for the Overseas Settlement of British Women. Coming from a privileged background she was, in every sense, ‘well-connected’ – and she used her connections well, as this volume shows.
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