Searching through the archives.
A couple of years ago during a wet weather spring clean I found/came across a bundle of papers tied neatly together with a red ribbon.
Since then I have dipped in and out of the papers each time realising that the bundle contains correspondence from George Johnstone to and from plants people and organisations the world over.
The archives go back to 1909 where the first letter mentions Lilium giganteum bulbs (we know as Cardiocrinum giganteum on the main lawn but has actually gone back to Lilium as a genus) and how to propagate them from seed right up to 1995 with the bulk of the archives dating from the mid thirties to 1959. With the latter correspondence mainly to do with George’s master piece his book ‘Asiatic Magnolias in Cultivation’, still seen today as a reference work on Magnolia.
Included in the bundle are several certificates from the RHS for various award of merit plants including Rhododendron ‘Alison Johnstone’ in 1945.
These archives will help identifying some of the mature plants within the collection as well as validate provenance of the plants. To know where plant material originated and who George Johnstone acquired the material from adds a true historic value to the plant collection.