June Lunchtime Lecture:  The Veitch Legacy

June Lunchtime Lecture: The Veitch Legacy - Topsham Museum

25 June 2019 25 June 2019

When: 25 June 2019
Where: Topsham Museum
Time: 1045 for 1130 - 1230
Cost: None, but donations welcome
Suitable for: Not suitable for children

The third lecture of the season on Tuesday, 25th June and entitled The Veitch Legacy, is by Caradoc Doy.

Caradoc Doy is a Horticulturalist and Topsham resident.  He was born in Herefordshire but grew up here in Topsham, Caradoc worked initially at Seabrook Garden Centre whilst studying at Bicton College of Agriculture. He then undertook a three-year Diploma course in horticulture in Worcestershire. During the next ten years he worked at a variety of horticultural establishments around the country,  returning in 2001 to Topsham and St Bridget Nurseries. It was at that point that he became interested in the Veitch family and their contribution to plant exploration and introduction. Since 2005 Caradoc has had his own horticultural business, giving talks and advice on growing plants.

The Lecture:  when the Scot, John Veitch, arrived in Devon in the late 1700s to lay out the grounds of Killerton, the foundations were laid for the establishment of one of the most remarkable horticultural dynasties in Britain. John’s son, James, pioneered the sending of his own plant collectors abroad on behalf of his nursery on often-dangerous journeys in search of new plants, which was fuelled by the insatiable appetite of the Victorian gardening elite who would pay almost any price for a new exotic novelty. Over a period of 72 years the Veitch family sent 23 plant collectors across the globe in search of new plants.

The house of Veitch employed twenty-two recognised plant hunters, including three members of the Veitch family. Most prominent of these were brothers William and Thomas Lobb, Ernest (Chinese) Wilson and Charles Maries. The others were:

  • Richard Pearce: Visited Chile, Peru and Bolivia from 1859 to 1866
  • John Gould Veitch:  Visited Japan, South Sea Islands and Australia from 1860 to 1870
  • David Bowman:  Visited Brazil in 1866
  • Henry Hutton:  Visited Java and the Malay Archipelago from 1866 to 1868
  • Carl Kramer:  Visited Japan and Costa Rica from 1867 to 1868
  • Gottlieb Zahn:  Visited Central America from 1869 to 1870
  • George Downton: Visited Central and South America from 1870 to 1873
  • Henry Chesterton:  Visited South America from 1870 to 1878
  • A.R. Endres: Visited Costa Rica from 1871 to 1873
  • Gustav Wallis:  Visited Brazil, New Granada, South America from 1872 to 1874
  • Walter Davies:  Visited South America from 1873 to 1876
  • Peter Veitch: Visited Australia, South Sea Islands and Borneo from 1875 to 1878
  • Guillerno Kalbreier:  Visited West Coast of Africa and Colombia from 1876 to 1881
  • Christopher Mudd;  Visited South Africa in 1877
  • F.W. Burbridge:  Visited Borneo from 1877 to 1878
  • Charles Curtis: Visited Madagascar, Borneo, Sumatra,Java and the Moluccas from 1878 to 1884
  • David Burke:  Visited East Indies, Burma and Columbia from 1881 to 1897
  • James H. Veitch:   Visited India, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand from 1891 to 1893

 Five generations of the Veitch family took charge of the nursery businesses which were also involved in advising and creating fine designed landscapes and gardens. They introduced many hundreds of new plants, created the first official orchid hybrid and oversaw the arrival of the Wellingtonia tree. James Junior and his son, Harry Veitch, played key roles within the Royal Horticultural Society and later Harry helped organise the Royal International Horticultural Exhibition of 1912, the precursor to the Chelsea Flower Show, receiving a knighthood shortly afterward.

Caradoc’s illustrated talk will summarise the story of this remarkable firm, giving an account of the rise of the Veitch Nurseries from the early days in Exeter and some of the south west landscapes influenced by Veitch.

Upcoming events