The Sweet Pea Man takes you on a journey through nineteenth-century British gardens. Moreover, this book is a minutely researched biography of the Victorian plant hybridist Henry Eckford, and his life as a breeder of the famous grandiflora sweet peas.
Born and brought up in Scotland, Henry started as a garden apprentice at Lord Lovat’s Beaufort Castle. After working his way through the gardens of Penicuik House and Fingask Castle, Henry moved to England. Here, he bred pelargoniums and dahlias in the garden of the Earl of Radnor. He began his life’s work on the crossbreeding of sweet peas, which he refined in Wem in Shropshire and which ultimately made him famous.
Detailed scientific descriptions and illustrations fill this book. As a result, the reader will enjoy a fascinating depiction of the world of plants.
‘Isabel now had eight children to bring up alone, though almost certainly with the help of the extended family. Henry must have exhibited an early fascination with flowers. Still in his cradle, his grandfather told his parents, “if you make that boy anything but a gardener you'll spoil him.”’