Thomas Fairchild

(c. 1667—1729) gardener

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Mark Catesby (1682—1749) naturalist

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(1667–1729), London nurseryman who began as a cloth worker but from the beginning of his apprenticeship also gardened. Employed in 1690 at Hoxton, London, then a centre of the nursery business, he purchased a nursery and remained there for the rest of his life. Elected freeman of the Gardeners' Company in 1704, Fairchild developed an interest in growing the new introductions, particularly the material collected by Mark Catesby in America and sent to Philip Miller. A practical gardener, interested in scientific research, Fairchild experimented in hybridization, producing the first artificial hybrid between Dianthus caryophyllus (carnation) and D. barbatus (sweet william). The flowers resembled a sweet william, but were larger and red, but the seeds proved infertile and the plant became known as ‘Fairchild's Mule’. He corresponded with Linnaeus and read papers on his experiments to the Royal Society. His The City Gardener (1722) is a detailed guide to gardening in the city of London. In 1725, with Philip Miller and Robert Furber (c.1674–1756), he helped found the London Society of Gardeners.

From The Oxford Companion to the Garden in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Lifestyle, Home, and Garden.

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