The many faces of Edward Augustus Bowles
Thanks to the encouragement of some of you, I have been scanning like a maniac so I can dump slides that will never be of any use. It is like a stroll down memory lane, looking at slides I took in previous lives. One of these was a very happy time when I was in charge of Myddelton House, the former home of the famous amateur horticulturist E A Bowles. The restoration, at the time, was a rather amateur affair too and I am glad to say that the whole place is more professionally run now. But it was a good time, getting the process started.
The name of EAB may not be familiar to you but I am sure you will have heard of, or even grown, ‘Bowles’ Mauve’ wallflower, even though I had it on good authority that he never grew it. But there are lots of other plants that he gave to gardens. The best know images of him are the one above and the one below, in the garden with his two-pronged fork.
And here is is with his gardener Mr Howard in the rock garden.
He was always getting into trouble for gardening in his best clothes.
And he likes to spend early summer in the Alps (here second from right).
And as a student at Cambridge he spent a lot of time bug collecting in the Fens.
And he got very excited at the delivery of a package of new plants.
I don’t think he is in this photo – it is of the cricket team, on the grass at the back of the house.
A priceless record, Geoff. Keep scanning
Great pictures of his life. I think perhaps there is a crocus that has the Bowles name?
There is. He was known as the crocus king and he wrote a book about them. He named one after a relative ‘E P Bowles’ (eustace parker bowles – yes, of royal fame) and Van Tubergen named one after him – ‘E A Bowles’
One of my favorite garden writers!I have,and love,his three “My Garden…” books,his “Handbook of Crocus and Colchicum”,and Mea Allen’s book.He wrote so directly,and lived such a perfect gardener’s life.That you worked to restore his garden is a fine thing.
Thank you. Now that I have scanned images and rediscovered things I will post some more. I agree that his writing is great to read and yes, he did have a pretty good life. Not without problems of course. Do you know about the Crispian row that involved Ellen willmot? if not I could post about that 🙂 I did go to Mea allen’s home too which was interesting.
I’ve only heard it referred to-do write about it.
OK – I will do 🙂
He was also a well known galanthophile. It must have been wonderful to have worked there. We grow Galanthus ‘E. A. Bowles and Galanthus ‘Bowles Large Form’.
What a fascinating garden to work in. I have all his books and love them. Nowadays there would be raised eyebrows about the way he loved to have all those little boys in the garden.
That is very true. What is without doubt is that he was very philanthropic – he used the fee from his first book in the trilogy to pay for new pews in the local church.