History fascinates me and gardening is a passion. I knew I had to read this book when I checked the index and found one of my favorite plants, a fragrant white lilac with double flowers called ‘Miss Ellen Wilmott.’
I learned from Ms. Taylor that crossing Lilium davidii with L. willmottiae led to “plants six feet tall with dozens of flowers on each stem. L. willmottiae had been found in central China by Augustine Henry and brought to England in 1888. It was named for the now legendary Miss Ellen Willmott, born into great wealth, who bankrupted herself because of her passion for exotic garden plants while forgetting the cost of their upkeep.”
‘Miss Ellen Willmott’ grows in my garden and I also enjoy seeing it among the lilac collection at the Arnold Arboretum. The blossoms have an old-fashioned sweet fragrance and are very longlasting.
My next post will be about Augustine Henry, whom I knew nothing about until I read this book.