One of the flowers capturing my attention in Florence Botanical Garden comes from far Africa.It’s hard to imagine African hill slopes covered with clivias in orange, yellow or red ,it must look like in Eden! The flower was sent to Europe around 1823 and become extremely popular in Victorian England homes and gardens.Many hybrids have been grown up to today,with colors from apricot , orange ,yellow, white and even dark red,the leaves broad or narrow or even in bi-color.Searching internet pages I found thousands of pretty pictures of the flower,but the one I was searching for was missing. Clivia bears her name in honor of Lady Charlotte Florentine Clive, Duchess of Northumberland, an avid plant enthusiast,it was in her garden that Clivia blossomed for the first time in Europe.I was unable to find any picture of this English lady,so here is the picture of her husband,at least.
Hugh Percy, 3rd Duke of Northumberland KG, PC (20 April 1785 – 11 February 1847),from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Percy,_3rd_Duke_of_Northumberland
Not finding anything more about the lady Charlotte Florentine Clive, Duchess of Northumberland (except the fact that she was appointed governess of Princess Victoria, the later Queen Victoria), I had to check who mister Regel was. I’ve found his picture immediately:
Eduard August von Regel (born August 13, 1815 in Gotha, died April 15, 1892 in St. Petersburg) ,from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eduard_August_von_Regel
What a surprise!This guy was garden volunteer at the beginning of his career! Nevertheless, he later served as head of the Old Botanical Garden, Zürich and later as director of the Imperial Botanical Garden,St. Petersburg, Russia. He founded Russian Gardening Society and published 3101 articles in academic journals!
This findings made me less unhappy not finding lady’s portrait, especially as Clivia flower will talk about this woman and botanist Regel forever ,leaving us in wonder whether the two of them would appreciate it…………….