E A Bowles is well known for his plant introductions. Perhaps the best known of these is ‘Bowles Mauve’ wallflower although his neighbour, the redoubtable Frances Perry ( of which more tomorrow) told me that he never grew it! Perhaps it arose sometime after his death and was found in the garden. Of the dozens of others he found or introduced, I think that his ‘Golden Grass’ (Milium effusum ‘Aureum’) is still the best and holds its own amid the plants that have been introduced in the intervening 100 or so years. Seeding about nicely, its citrus shaded foliage is always bright and useful in the border and it will grow in part shade or in sun if the soil is not too dry.
Just as well known, but not quite as satisfactory, is ‘Bowles Black’ pansy, a small-flowered thing that is cute and pretty enough but it has the sexual morals of an alley cat and it is difficult to get or keep the real thing with deep, velvety petals and a small, yellow eye if you have other violas or pansies in the garden.
Of course he was known as the Crocus King and this is a scan, of a photo, of a photo, of his crocus frames with, predominantly, C. chrysanthus seedlings, with which he is particularly associated.
And here is a page from the Perry’s Hardy Plant catalogue showing the introduction of his rhubarb.
And here is an RHS report of the First Class Certificate awarded to his Iris reticulata hybrid ‘Cantab’ which is still commonly available today.
And, to end, the partner photo to the one at the top, with Bowles messing about again!