La Mortola: In the Footsteps of Thomas Hanbury

La Mortola: In the Footsteps of Thomas Hanbury

by Alasdair Moore


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In 1853, 21-year-old Thomas Hanbury made the long sea voyage from England to war-torn China, as the Manchu Dynasty began to crumble. In Shanghai, a city beset by rebels, greed, vice and opium, Hanbury carved out a great fortune and by 1867 he had acquired a small, dilapidated palazzo in the Italian Riviera village of La Mortola. It was here over the next forty years that Thomas Hanbury was to create the Giardini Botanici Hanbury, known as La Mortola, still one of the foremost and beautiful botanic gardens in the world.

Thomas Hanbury remains one of the outstanding figures of 19th-century horticulture, his legacy includes the gift of the gardens at Wisley to the Royal Horticultural Society. Yet, little generally is known about this Quaker philanthropist and lover of plants who was decorated by both the British and Italian governments. In a compelling book, gardener and writer Alasdair Moore traces Thomas Hanbury's remarkable life and passion for horticulture, examining how a young man from Clapham, London, not only formed the finest private plant collection of his generation, with over 5,000 rare and exotic plants from Africa and Asia alongside native Mediterranean flora, but came to have Italian streets named in his honour.

With unique access to Hanbury's diaries and family documents and drawing on his own gardening expertise and knowledge of La Mortola, Moore follows in the footsteps of Thomas Hanbury; from his formative years in Shanghai to his life in Italy, as that nation was reborn and Thomas battled to create his superlative garden.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781860111402
Publisher: Cadogan Guides
Publication date: 05/01/2004
Edition description: First
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.14(w) x 7.74(h) x 0.59(d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1La Mortola: Giardini Hanbury23
Chapter 2Shanghai bound39
Chapter 3Topside Galah51
Chapter 4Foreign devils65
Chapter 5Riviera Robinson Crusoe87
Chapter 6Inspiration105
Chapter 7A garden in Italy127
Chapter 8The pitiful want of water155
Chapter 9The taint of opium and fruit of Shanghai171
Chapter 10A decorated father201
Chapter 11Inveni portum...229
Chapter Notes246

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