Garden History item, local connection!

Richmond, VA(Zone 7a)

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!


Woodinville, WA(Zone 8b)

Kyla - what a find!! And I'm sure he was tickled by your inquiry, as well. It must have made him feel that much more important today.

And now I have a "little known fact" to share during my next casual garden conversation.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Wow--what a serendipitous connection you discovered! I agree with katie59, I bet he was really pleased that someone asked ;o)

Richmond, VA(Zone 7a)

Yes I think he was pleased. So now, are those items archived somewhere that I might go back and look at what was posted? Because really all I remember is the name.

I bet others too will find local connections if they look.......... here or there. ;-)

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

I went and dug it out of the pile for you:

March 15, 1754

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.

Richmond, VA(Zone 7a)

Thank you!!! ;-)

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

You're quite welcome...I wish I could pick his brain for a couple of hours!!

Richmond, VA(Zone 7a)

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.

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

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.

Richmond, VA(Zone 7a)

Ah, I see.

Yes, from his tone when we spoke today I imagine he does feel that way.

And I know what you mean. ;-)

Woodinville, WA(Zone 8b)

Funny, melody, I'm with you. I always thought it was because my mom was a genealogist and we spent summer vacations visiting cemeteries and photographing headstones.

I'm amazed at those pioneers and their meticulousness and fortitude to keep going under awful conditions and without all the acclaim they deserved.

Enjoy your visit on Saturday and encourage your new friend to join DG!

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

Oh, I've done the cemetery dance and dusty record halls of my umpteenth grandfathers was married to the grand daughter of Pocahontas...she died before they had children ancestors were with his second wife.

Woodinville, WA(Zone 8b)

Kewl . . .

Laceys Spring, AL(Zone 7a)

Kyla, that is so cool that you found the local connection! Must have made him feel great too to find out someone knew about his ancestor.

Richmond, VA(Zone 7a)

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.

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

What about listing him in Go Gardening? It is a free service we offer.

Richmond, VA(Zone 7a)

Editing my original response to say, I had actually read the single comment in Go Gardening last fall. I just added mine. Thanks for the suggestion, Melody.

This message was edited Mar 22, 2009 11:41 AM

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