The 1850s

Technical advancements bring a shift from Edwin Budding’s noisy cogs and gears to quieter chain-driven mowing machines. These are developed by several manufacturers, most notably Thomas Green & Son of Leeds.

1851 – The Gardeners' Chronicle founder Joseph Paxton's Crystal Palace is constructed in Hyde Park, London, in preparation for the Great Exhibition.

The Kelways nursery is founded by James Kelway in Langport, Somerset.

Joseph Hooker delivers 6,500 species of plants from India to the new Kew National Botanic Garden.

The Gardeners' Benevolent Institution is renamed The Gardeners' Royal Benevolent Institution, an honour granted personally by Queen Victoria 12 years after its founding in 1839. The following year Charles Dickens presides over the ninth Annual Festival Dinner fundraiser.

1853 - Nurseryman James Veitch and his son expand their operation with the purchase of a nursery in Chelsea that the young James goes on to run while his father remains in Exeter. 

1856 – Professor J T Way identifies that ammonia contained in fertilizers is turned into nitrates in the soil – a process known as nitrification

1856 - John Dominy of the Veitch Nurseries produces the first known orchid hybrid, and in the latter part of the century orchid breeding becomes the rich man's horticultural hobby.

1859 – Charles Darwin publishes his major scientific work,  On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, setting the foundation of evolutionary biology.

1859 – Between 30,000 and 40,000 bedding plants were planted in London's Hyde Park. By the mid 1860s bedding schemes were prevalent in municipal parks.

1859 – Philip Webb designs the Red House, Kent, the first Arts and Crafts house and garden.

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