Botany, Horticulture and LGBTQ Gardeners
Botany, the study of plants and their place in evolution and which is a part of the science of biology, is an exploratory discipline that evolved with the great scientific revolution heralded by Sir Francis Bacon in the sixteenth century. With the opening of new worlds came the exciting prospect of discovering plant species and their uses unknown to the developed world at the time.
Of course, the concept of gardening and horticulture developed well before the creation of Botany. However, gardening in early eras generally referred to methods of food production and the propogation of herbs believed to be contributors to health and medical cures.
The first botanic gardens, or gardens devoted specifically to the scientific study of plants, were the physics gardens of Italy in the sixteenth century. The first known of such was the garden of the University of Pisa created in 1543. Eventually, this would lead to separate institutions and schools of agriculture and plant research, and botanical gardens would become more places of research focused on pleasure and the study of conservation.
Today, gardening, botany and horticulture is a vast profession that still encompasses many of these historical pursuits but has also come to include aesthetic, artistic and cultural pleasure as well. There is a well developed professional aspect that now incorporates landscape design, garden design, nursery management, plant species development, and environmental research. Accompanying this professional network is the cultural and educational aspects of garden writing, journalism, and painting. The field now encompasses scientists, artists, writers and the everyday person involved in a leisurely pursuit.
Not surprisingly, there is a close link between the horticultural world and the fields of architecture and environmental activism.
LGBTQ participation in the field has been well represented and fundamental to the many changes that have occurred over time. Already noted is Bacon as the founder of the field of scientific study, and the Prussian Alexander Von Humboldt is the founder of the field of geography. More recently, Americans Joshua David and Robert Hammond are the visionary individuals who created the concept for the famed and revolutionary High Line Garden in New York City which has completely altered the concept of urban gardens today.
- Frank Howarth, curator
- Sir Francis Bacon, botany
- Alexis Datta, gardener
- Alys Fowler, journalist
- Derek Jarman, designer
- Christopher Lloyd, designer, writer and nursery owner
- Arthur Lett-Haines, artist and gardener
- Arne Maynard, writer and designer
- Amanda Miller, designer
- Cedric Morris, painter and gardener
- Beverley Nichols, writer and gardener
- Michael Perry, gardener and blogger
- Vita Sackville-West, writer and designer
- Geoff Wakeling, blogger
- Virginia Woolf, designer and writer
- Alexander Von Humboldt, botanist
- James Ogilvy, landscape architect
- Bevis Bawa, designer
- Dan Barasch, designer
- Joshua David, community gardener
- Robert Hammond, community gardener
- J. C. Raulston, gardener and writer
- Clyde Phillip Wachsberger, gardener and writer