The exhibition Green Gold: Plants from the Travels of John Jeffrey has opened in Edinburgh.
Venue: Gateway Gallery, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Dates: 27th April - 30th June 2019
Time: 10:00 - 17:45
The exhibition celebrates the life and achievements of plant hunter John Jeffrey. It focuses on his travels in North America in the middle of the nineteenth century. Below you can find out more about:
Paintings of plants collected by John Jeffrey
The exhibition includes six especially commissioned watercolour paintings by Nicola Macartney featuring trees and flowering plants collected by Jeffrey in North America.
I met Nicola last July when she was exhibiting her suite of six paintings at the RHS Botanical Art Show - where she won a Silver Gilt Medal for her exhibit (see below).
Her paintings were created from specimens of plants growing in the Royal Botanic Garden at Edinburgh and Benmore. - quite possibly from the cones and seeds sent back by Jeffrey to Scotland.
The exhibition also includes plus materials from RBGE including specimens from the Herbarium, and letters and minutes from their archives.
About John Jeffrey
John Jeffrey was born in Forneth, Parish of Clunie in east Perthshire. He worked as a gardener at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. A Scottish group known as the Oregon Association (established 1849) appointed him to travel to North America and find trees and collect their seeds.
The intention was that he would continue the efforts of botanist David Douglas (1799–1834) who made three separate trips from Britain to North America. (The Oregon state tree is named after him - its common name being Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii, once Pinus douglasii).
Jeffrey's travels involved:
The odds were stacked against John Jeffrey from the start. The distances to be travelled across British Columbia and the Rocky Mountains were extraordinary, while the territory itself was challenging due to the extreme cold, high altitude, and unrest among Native American tribes
While exploring he sent the specimens he collected back to Scotland and kept journals of his travels. He discovered 24 new species many of which now grow in the gardens of the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh and Benmore.
Thanks to his work however the seeds from 119 species were collected and more than 400 plant specimens sent to the Herbarium at RBGE, including seeds and/or specimens of 35 conifer species. Two plant species still bear his name, Dodecatheon jeffreyi and Pinus jeffreyi while a third,Penstemon jeffreyanus, was later renamed by botanists
In 1854 he disappeared while travelling east from San Diego across the Colorado Desert. Despite attempts to find him, he was never seen again.
Below is a video by Gabriel Hemery illustrating the extent of his travels
Green Gold (the book)
The exhibition is associated with the publication of Green Gold by Gabriel Hemery.
Gabriel Hemery is the author of
Below are two videos
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