The 1890s

The first petrol-powered traction motor – or tractor – is built by American John Froelich by mounting a petrol engine to the wood and steel frame of a steam traction engine. At 9,000 pounds, the 30 horsepower petrol traction engine still weighed much less than a steam device.

More than 100,000 attend the opening of London’s Peckham Rye Park, designed by Lt-Colonel JJ Sexby – the London County Council’s first superintendent of parks. The park includes tennis courts, play areas, a bowling green, ornamental flowerbeds, a rockery with small grotto and American, Japanese and old English gardens.

The National Trust is founded by Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Hardwicke Rawnsley.

Impatiens walleriana – or Busy Lizzie – is introduced from East Africa.

Architect Edwin Lutyens designs Gertrude Jekyll’s house, Munstead Wood. The creation of house
and garden are described in her books, Wood and Garden (1899) and Home and Garden (1900).

On 11 February 1897, Roger Crompton Notcutt buys a nursery in Woodbridge at auction into
which he moves with his family. The house is still part of the Notcutts business today.

The Municipal Parks, Gardens and Open Spaces of London; their history and associations, is published by London County Council superintendent of parks Lt-Colonel JJ Sexby.

The Horticultural Trades Association is established at the Crystal Palace by 60 like-minded horticulturists.

Harry James Veitch sends Ernest Wilson to China to search for plants suitable for British gardens and, in particular, the seed of the Davidia, or Pocket-handkerchief Tree. Wilson finds a group of Davidia producing seed from which Veitch’s nursery raises thousands of seedlings.

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