Bowles, Edward Augustus 1865-1954

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Mr. Bowles according to Hadfield, was England's "last great modern gardener." He was an English gentlemen of Huguenot ancestry and of the highest culture and intelligence. He lived in a typical old family house and grounds, Mydelleton House, Enfield. The estate comprised of old trees, a quarry turned into a pond and frontage on the New River which in the early years of the 17th Century was a source of water for London.

Bowles became interested in gardening through Canon Ellacombe. Family bereavements made it necessary for him to stay at home and he devoted his time to natural history, particularly entomology. Finally, his garden, horticultural writing and his long connections with the Royal Horticultural Society made him extremely well known and influential in English garden history. He brought many plants from abroad. He traveled widely frequently with Reginald Farrer.

During 1914 and 1915 he published his first three books:

My Garden in Spring
My Garden in Summer
My Garden in Winter

The objectives of these books was to show the pleasure which could be obtained from a garden planned with much diversity. He stated later in his life that within his 5 acres he had experimented with most plants which appeared in lots marked "new" or "rare." He tried each of them three times in different positions. Hadfield states that "no other trilogy of garden books combine so much practical sense, wide learning and relevant ancedote".

He was much interested in hardy cycamens, anemones, snowdrops and iris. When I was taken to see his garden in late 1932 he told me that he was much interested in species of Allium.

He also published Handbook of Crocus and Colchicum (1924) and Handbook of Narcissus (1934). The book on Crocus was of outstanding and excellence.

He presided over Royal Horticultural Society Committees until a few weeks before his death. His garden now belongs to the University of London. Hadfield concludes his discussion by pointing out that he was "a link between the lively figures of the late Victorian Age and the world that followed what he called 'Hitler's War'."