The 1870s

George Henry Thompson from Horsham in Surrey takes the opportunity to start a vegetable farm in Esher, selling to green grocers at London’s Borough Market. His descendents continue to run the business which is today known as Garsons.

Exceptionally consistent rain brings the wettest calendar year on record to England and Wales with 1,285mm (50.6 in) of rain beating the  previous record from 1768 by 38mm (1.5 in). The nearest record rain fall since is seen in 2012 with 1,244mm (49 in) and 2000 with 1,233 mm (48.5 in).

Work begins on the Natural History Museum under the superintendent of the natural history department of the British Museum, Richard Owen. The building is completed in 1880; the museum opens in 1881.

British explorer, Sir Henry Alexander Wickham brings seeds of the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) from Brazil to Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Edwin Hillier introduces the first Hillier-raised plant – Primula sinensis flore pleno ‘Annie Hillier’ which goes on to receive the Royal Horticultural Society’s First Class Certificate in 1880. The company goes on to raise more than 150 new plants including favourites Ceanothus ‘Blue Mound’, Cotinus ‘Grace’, Choisya ‘Aztec Pearl’, Sophora Sun King and Choisya ‘Aztec Gold’.

A group of local horticultural enthusiasts hold the first Shrewsbury Flower Show, now the longest-running horticultural show in the world to have been held continuously in one location.

Experimental wild gardens are laid out by G F Wilson at Wisley from 1878 to 1902 before being acquired by the Royal Horticultural Society in 1903, and further enlarged and developed.

McBean’s nursery is launched and serves the Royal family with orchids for their homes and weddings.

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