All writing © 2009-2015 by Colin Salter unless indicated otherwise. All rights reserved.
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Saturday, 26 October 2013

JOHN SALTER (1798-1874) AND THE GYPSY QUEEN



Many of my ancestors lived quietly doing good works in small ways, and a lot of the articles I write here are intended to rescue their memory and example from obscurity. It’s as if by naming the dead and remembering their deeds I am keeping them alive.

Others had more illustrious careers, were even celebrated in their day, but are now forgotten. John Salter for example, a half cousin of my 2x great grandfather, was a successful horticulturalist, prominent enough in his sphere to be consulted about fixity of variegation by Charles Darwin when the naturalist was researching his second book.

John’s annual floral displays were a feature of London life, and the flowers which he created, especially varieties of chrysanthemum, remained popular in the garden catalogues for 120 years. It was his chrysanthemums that first caught my eye, because he named some of them after family members. Later someone drew my attention to his fascination with variegated varieties of many other plants. And more recently I stumbled across a beautiful iris which he introduced, Gypsy Queen.