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I am so tickled to report that my local garden center owner, Robert Menzies, is, I just learned today, a direct descendant of Archibald Menzies, the Scottish horticulturist featured in the Garden History items a little while ago. I can't recall what day it was or even what else was said about him, but I noted the same surname and this morning asked our local Menzies if he is related and he said yes, that is what he has to try to live up to! His family have been horticulturists since the 1400's.
Oh wow. It was so cool to have that awareness... and be able to ask about his name. I had never heard of Archibald Menzies before, and it just felt good to have that point of connection, especially as I am new in this area, so making connections is more important even than usual for me.
So, thank you for educating us about our gardening history!
Archibald Menzies, Scottish physician and naturalist, was born near Perthshire, Scotland. Many plants, including the Menziesia genus, are named for him. He is credited for introducing the Monkey Puzzle tree to England in 1795.
Wellllllll I am going over there tomorrow morning to pick up some potting soil and some 15 gal containers. He sells the nursery pots to his customers for half what he pays new... sells the used ones. He said they can let me have some of the large ones as he knows they will only be planting about half what they did last year, as the economy has taken its toll. But he is willing to support local gardeners and striving to keep his business going...
Anyway, all that said, if you want to share a couple or three questions here, and if it feels right when I chat with him in the morning, I might be able to ask on your behalf... His specialty tho seems to be this locale and native plants here, forestry, etc, so not sure what all his knowledge base includes.
I wouldn't have specific gardening questions...just wondering since he's in the business if he feels closer to his roots.
I know that when I have an heirloom vegetable seed. I can hold it in my hand and imagine the journey it took to get to me. All of the souls who kept saving it each year whether there was war, drought or migration...they maintained the seeds as a connection to their past. I can almost feel their approval as I maintain old and rare varieties. I just wondered if he feels similar as he carries on a family tradition that is over 600 years old. I would feel humbled and honored to be able to do so.
Oh, I've done the cemetery dance and dusty record halls myself...one of my umpteenth grandfathers was married to the grand daughter of Pocahontas...she died before they had children though..my ancestors were with his second wife.
It is kind of fun... Of course I knew about the local guy before I learned about the history. And right now he seems mostly focused on seeing how to downsize his business and keep it viable. But he has good info about local conditions, told me when to plant tomatoes ("not until all the snow is gone from Black Butte!") and gives me a deal on potting soil etc... I do hope to find out more about his family heritage perhaps one day, but today was not the time, it was kinda hectic over there as they were trying to ready things for the season.