Philip Miller

1691 (Deptford, England) – 1771 (Chelsea)

The most influential 18th C British horticulturalist with achievements both practical and academic, Miller’s great publication was the first scientifically-based compendium of all relevant knowledge. He saw John Ray as a child, and was recommended to Sloane as head gardener at the Chelsea Physic Garden. His observation to Bradley about the role of insects in pollination is the first recorded. He taught the young Banks his nurseryman skills, and corresponded with Linnaeus, but took 32 years from their first meeting to adopt his system of nomenclature. Hales, whose work he quoted, called him ‘skillful and ingenious’, though his irascibility was also noted.

Philip Miller knew…