David Stuart fell in love
with plants in childhood – the first plant he bought was Chamaecereus
something or other (it’s now classed as an Echinopsis). When
it eventually flowered, he was amazed at its beauty, and began
collecting all sorts of plants, wheedled from school friends, local
nurseries, even surreptitious adrenalin-rush cuttings from Kew.
The obvious thing to do was
to become a botanist. He couldn’t leave his collection, so read botany
at nearby Reading University, then went up to Edinburgh to do a PhD, on
the genus Muscari. In between looking at chromosomes, he
managed a marvellously educative collecting trip to Greece, where he
found out a bit about life, but not much about grape hyacinths.
Classical taxonomy being in decline, he went to Liverpool University to look at yet more chromosomes. That was something of a disaster, and he eventually managed to get a job back in his beloved Edinburgh. This was not especially interesting, and gardening somehow took over. He began restoring an urban Georgian garden (and its house), wrote a book on Georgian Gardens, sold the house, dumped the job, and bought a lovely but ruinous 17th century village house on the shores of the Firth of Forth at Belhaven.
As he started collecting garden plants that matched the age of the house, a book called Plants from the Past soon followed. Then more books, garden columns for the then main Scottish quality newspaper, then the Scottish section of the Sunday Times.
He now currently gardens in a tiny 18th century patch in a Borders village; the garden still has paths, seat, sundial and urns from the 1790′s. He is still writing about gardens and gardening, photographing, and doing some very occasional advisory and design work.
More garden books and
plant/garden apps for mobiles and tablets are in development…
He also has the opportunity
to mooch about in a pretty little garden in London, and something very
nice in Lincolnshire – see my blog for pictures, or click on the slideshow arrow below.