Category Archives: Horticulture History

The history of a plant or plants.

WHAT DO STRAWBERRIES AND PEAS HAVE IN COMMON?

Ken Wilson

These two common garden varieties of plants seem to be strange equals. Yet we must look back to 1830 when a man was born in Rutland a small town in Tinwell England. He started off his professional life as a solicitor or in America he would be known as a (Lawyer). His interests turned towards horticulture or plant husbandry as it was called then. He started corresponded with Charles Darwin as his fascination on how more precisely plants passed on certain trait to their offspring. By 1858 at the age of 28 he was breeding Peas at a place called St. Mary’s Hill in Stamford. As his creations increased so did his corresponded to Charles Darwin about his outcomes. Darwin made several notations about his thoughts, and commented about them several times in his (Darwin’s Notes)

In his breeding process he used scientific process and accurately noted all parent’s attributes and how they followed through to their progeny. He first perceived a concept that later has been recognized as hybrid vigor. He watched closely to the susceptibility of first-generation and second-generation plants to dieses and their resistance their American counterparts added to their linage. He bred and back bred to gain the best traits of the American varieties into common English varieties.

He did this without the knowledge of Mendel who in Germany was secluded in a monastery and whose works would later be published. His motivation was to improve varieties not the how genetics worked as did Mendel.

He moved his operation to Bedfordhigh Street in 1872 and began breeding strawberries of which he produced several new varieties including the Royal Sovereign strawberry. He also developed the Superb and Lawton’s Fortune apples.

This gentleman and his sons and grandsons produced many varieties of peas that they sold through there store. Along with strawberries, currents and apples. His death was in 1893 but his works live on in one varieties of heirloom peas.

His name was Thomas Laxton (1830-1893), the pea is the “Laxton Pea”, the strawberry “Royal Sovereign.”

Thomas Laxton is considered the greatest pea breeder ever, and this century-old variety is his masterpiece. Try it and see why.

© KEN WILSON
WWW.gardeningwhisperer.com

2019

DECORATION DAY

DECORATION DAY

This is my seventieth DECORATION DAY, (yes I know the name has changed) but it has always been a special day as it was the day my mother prepared flowers to decorate the graves of our ancestral history and the forgotten soldiers that had fought to make America free. From where we lived we had to trek in all four directions to visit the many cemeteries and graves this process took about a week to accomplish. I wish I could remember the stories mother told of each person that we stopped by and there location but time has eroded my mind. Continue reading

Welcome to the Gardening Whisperer

I 16 copyGod has given this earth a vast diversity of plant life; this is to fit the many niches all over the world. As man has traveled he has taken plants with him and to serve his needs. These plants were for food, comfort and some were to enhance and beautify his home, while some were just plan interesting. Subsequently early man started the process of making plants better. This tinkering with the genetics has been one of many fascinations of early man finding a better corn or more attractive plant. In the early 1900 every seed and nursery catalog had its list of new plants. Continue reading