For over a century, and across five generations, the Veitch family pioneered the introduction of hundreds of new plants into gardens, conservatories and houses and were amongst the foremost European cultivators and hybridisers of their day. The story begins in 1768 when a Scotsman called John Veitch came to England to find his fortune, starting out as a gardener for the aristocracy. Realising that horticultural mania had begun to spread throughout the social classes, John's son, James, opened a nursery in Exeter and began to send some of the first commercial plant collectors into the Americas, Australia, India, Japan, China and the South Seas. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the Veitch's had become key figures within the gardening establishment, involved with the Royal Horticultural Society from its beginnings and the great Chelsea Flower Show. Combining an historian's eye for detail with a flair for storytelling, Shephard charts the fortunes of one family and through them tells the fascinating story of the modern English garden.
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