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Alicia Amherst was a distinguished Victorian and Edwardian horticulturist whose seminal book, A History of Gardening in England, was enormously influential in its time, running to three editions, and can still be enjoyed by today's readers - if they can find a copy. For this, and her other published works have not been reprinted since the 1930s and are now rather rare. In particular, London Parks and Gardens (1907) and Historic Gardens of England (1938) are important historical records, the first of which has never really been superseded in the comprehensive treatment of its subject. She was the recipient of many honours during her lifetime, but the one which gave her the greatest pleasure was being given the freedom of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners in 1896.
This is the first biography of Alicia Amherst and it reveals a woman of remarkable gifts and energy. Not only was she passionate about plants and gardens, being both an observant botanist and a very practical gardener, she was active in politics, becoming prominent in the British Women's Emigration Association and, after World War I, in the Society for the Overseas Settlement of British Women. Coming from a privileged background she was, in every sense, 'well-connected' - and she used her connections well, as this volume shows.
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Sue Minter graduated with a Master of Arts Degree from Girton College, Cambridge, and won a Fulbright Scholarship to the University of California, Berkeley, to study 19th Century American History. She later studied horticulture at the Royal Horticultural Society and Pershore College, Worcestershire. Sue has worked at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where she was part of the team responsible for the restoration and replanting of the Palm House. In 1991 she became the first female Curator of the Chelsea Physic Garden, a post she held until 2001, when she was appointed Director of Horticulture at the Eden Project. Her career has taken her on plant-collecting trips to many exotic locations. She is a Fellow of the Linnaean Society and of the Institute of Horticulture, and has recently been appointed Ambassador for Diversity in Public Appointments at the Cabinet Office. She lives in Plymouth.
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