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Horticultural history of Scilly is the product of industry and devotion

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 25, 2012

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A man who was to become an authority on the gardens of Cornwall, the late Douglas Ellory Pett's first experience of large-scale horticulture came when he was vicar of Gulval, writes Frank Ruhrmund.

Author of The Parks And Gardens Of Cornwall, which was hailed on its publication in 1998 as being the most comprehensive survey of the subject, and a regular contributor to The Cornish Garden, he was awarded the Charles Thomas Prize of the Royal Institute of Cornwall for his studies of Scillonian plants and growing.

Now, thanks to the devotion, energy, enthusiasm and skill of his widow, Mary, his work has been published in book form as Horticulture On The Isles Of Scilly: A Documentary History And Source Book.

Divided into two parts, the first a documentary history from the ealy days to 1985, and the second a subject bibliography, it is all the more exceptional when, as Douglas Ellory Pett informs us in his foreword: "Much of the work done on the Isles of Scilly was during the months of December in the 1980s when the museum was only open for two hours on Wednesdays."

With this book, as he showed in all his previous published works, if ever an author did his homework, then it was Douglas Ellory Pett.

Without his application, industry, knowledge, experience and without the devoted input of the author's widow Mary Pett, this work would never have been published and we would all be much the poorer.

An all-Cornish production, printed and bound by R Booth Ltd of Penryn, Horticulture On The Isles of Scilly: A Documentary History And Source Book by Douglas Ellory Pett is published by Mary Pett at £16.99.

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