11 Great Stuart St <1>
I was at the Botanic garden last week, and greatly admired the Brownea Jamaicensis which I had never seen in flower before. Also your gigantic Acacia verticillata and an equally lofty Heath. –
My relative the Earl of Ilchester <4> who is acquainted with your Garden and with Mr McNab, <5> has written to me to enquire how it is prospering? I think I may say, excellently well – He is a most zealous cultivator and his garden in Dorsetshire <6> has been full of rare plants for the last 40 years or very nearly – Mr McNab will remember him, before he came to the title, by the name of the Honble William Strangways. He asks me in his letter <7> whether the Edinburgh Botl Garden would be willing to exchange some plants with him? He wishes for small plants of one or two palms such as Jubæa spectabilis or Chamærops serrulata from Carolina<.> In return he could offer some bulbs not common, and some other plants of which he would send a list. What shall I say? – What a very early spring this is, some gardens near Edinburgh show a splendid display of spring flowers –
I remain Dr Sir Yours vy truly
H. F. Talbot
[at foot of page, inverted, in JHB’s hand:] 1863 –
H. F. Talbot
1. The Talbots rented 11 Great Stuart Street, Edinburgh, during 1863.
2. Royal Society of Edinburgh.
3. WHFT, ‘On Fagnani’s Theorem’, in Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, v. 23, 1863, pp. 285–98.
4. William Thomas Horner Fox Strangways, 4th Earl of Ilchester (1795–1865), botanist, art collector & diplomat.
5. James McNab, director of the Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.
6. Abbotsbury, Dorset: home of William Thomas Horner Fox Strangways.