International Women's Day - Ladies We Dig, part 2!

Last year, in honour of International Women's Day, we took a deep dive looking at some (but by no means all) of the amazing plantswomen from past to present who have dug away at society's inequalities with their gardening prowess. You can read that article here, but there were so many to choose from that we've dived back in for round 2! 

Mary Somerset, Duchess of Beaufort, 1630-1715

In a world dominated by men, Mary Somerset became the first woman to become a household name in horticultural circles of the time. At the time, botany enthusiasts and science types where carting plant specimens back from far flung corners of the world, building collections and starting botanical gardens to further study plants. Until this point, women hadn't even been allowed through the front door on this, but the Duchess used her wealth and connections to challenge this. She built a collection that would become the basis of Oxford Botanical Garden, and was first to bring back many of the plants that continue to be favourites in the UK. She had a penchant for succulents and her heated greenhouse at Badminton House was the first of its kind, and we can thank her for the pelargonium as we know it today. Cheers, Mary!  

Beatrix Havergal, 1901- 1980

Beatrix was avid gardener and educator. Along with her partner, Avice Sanders, she established a school of horticulture for ladies, first in the grounds of Pusey House and then at Waterperry House in Oxfordshire. Beatrix was renowned for her formidable determination as well as her gardening skills. Probably fed up of men telling her what to do, she was passionate about both theoretical and practical training and sharing this with other women. 

Apparently, her sense of dress and lofty stature inspired Quentin Blake's illustrations of Miss Trunchbull in Roald Dahl's Matilda, though from what we can gather she wasn't really the type to swing a student around the playground by their pigtails.


Beth Chatto, 1923-2018

 'Right plant, right place'

If you're even vaguely a garden nerd, then you've probably heard of Beth. She was a champion of taking an ecological approach to planting, encouraging people to build a deeper understanding of the space they have and what plants would naturally work there. Practicing what she preached, she transformed a relative wasteland into her now world famous gardens and nursery, which you can still visit today. Definitely worth a day trip.

The Land Gardeners, today
Henrietta Courtauld and Bridget Elworthy are the ladies behind garden design company, The Land Gardeners. More than just creating beautiful gardens all over the world (with cutting gardens at their heart - we're so here for this), they are dedicated to using their work to research plant and soil health. They have even developed Climate Compost - an inoculum that not only gives you healthier soil and plants, but will also help reduce your carbon footprint, with just a pinch of the stuff helping your soil to sequester carbon more effectively. Are these ladies rockstars or bloody what?


Sui, The Temperate Gardener, today
Sui, @thetemperategardener, stepped out of the corporate world to pursue her passion for gardening. Her Instagram is filled with beautiful shots from her cottage garden in Southeast England that speak to Sui's respect for and appreciation of the land, celebrating green, living space. 
At the same time, she fearlessly addresses the challenges such as accessibility, inclusivity and racism faced by POC trying to get into gardening and horticulture, highlighting the privilege that has been inherent in gardening for so many years. She founded the incredible @decolonisethegarden, a platform dedicated to bringing anti-racism to gardening. The platform is an amazing educational resource that will help you rethink your relationship to gardening in the very best way possible, and is well worth your support.
Image from  @woodandmeadow 

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