How doth your garden grow? Interlude

As an introduction to this series I presented this advertisement for a flower.[1]

Charley Casbon flower description 1871

I mentioned that I couldn’t say for sure if the Peterborough Casbons were responsible for developing this flower, but that I would provide some supporting evidence later.

Well, here is the evidence:

Casbon and son ad flower Emily Casbon 1882

From this ad, dated 1882,[2] it is clear that the Casbons were in the business of developing and naming flowers, particulary Pelargoniums (also known as Geraniums).

Since this ad says “Casbon and Son” it must refer to John Casbon (Generation 3) and his son Thomas. It could not have been Thomas (Generation 2), who died in 1863. Likewise, it could not have been Thomas (Generation 3), who was long separated from his wife and children in 1882. His son, at any rate, was not a gardener.

But wait, there’s more! I mentioned that I had subscribed to The British Newspaper Archive late last week. As I was browsing through the archive, I discovered this report from the Royal Horticultural Society show, held in South Kensington May 22, 1869:[3]

Royal horticultural show 1869
(Click on image to enlarge)

Unexpectedly, I had proof that the Charley Casbon flower was associated with the Casbons of Peterborough (Hooray!).

Of course, the solution of one mystery often leads to other mysteries. For example, who were “Messrs. Casbon and Sons, Peterborough”? In 1869, John Casbon and his son Thomas (age 15) were not living in Peterborough. They were in Spalding, Lincolnshire, about 16 miles away. John’s brother Thomas was already separated from his wife and children in 1869. I wonder if they kept the company name after father Thomas (Generation 2) died? Maybe John maintained an interest in the business even though he had his own nursery in Spalding.

Another mystery is ‘Who are Charley and Emily?’ I suspect the former is Charles W Casbon, born in 1866, Thomas’ (Generation 3) son who was taken to London by his mother. The mother, coincidentally, was named Emily, but I doubt that she was the namesake for the flower advertised in 1882. A more likely answer is that the Emily Casbon flower was named after Thomas’ (Generation 4 – confusing, isn’t it?) daughter Emily, born in 1878. Another coincidence is that this latter Thomas named his son Charles, although he wasn’t born until 1880, 11 years after the Charles Casbon flower made its royal debut.

Interlude concluded. Next post will end the series with generation 4.

[1] Saul, J. “Descriptive catalogue of new, rare and beautiful plants, dahlias, chrysanthemums, geraniums, fuchsias, carnations, verbenas, phloxes, &c. for spring, 1871.”Page 30.  Washington, D.C. Internet Archive [accessed 13 September 2016]
[2] “The Gardeners’ Chronicle.” Vol. XVIII, No. 467, 9 Dec 1882, page 738. London. Google Books [accessed 20 Sep 2016]
[3] “Royal Horticultural Society. Pelargonium Show, May, 22.” The Nottinhamshire Guardian, 4 June 1869. The British Newspaper Archive [accessed 25 September 2016]

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