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…

Andrew Jackson Downing

1815 (Newburgh, N.Y.) – 1852 (New York)

Gray and Downing co-edited a book on horticulture. He took Vaux on as an associate, having crossed the Atlantic in search of the right candidate. Olmsted and Vaux, who were to have such an effective partnership following Downing’s premature death, met at his house. Torrey corresponded with him and named a genus of plants after him. His professional relationship with Henry (the latter in his Smithsonian capacity) was connected with plans to landscape significant parts of Washington DC; unfortunately Downing drowned before much could be done.

Andrew Jackson Downing knew…