Oral history of British science
Rothschild, Miriam (15 of 16) An Oral History of British Horticulture
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Rothschild, Miriam, 1908-2005 (speaker, female)
Brodie, Louise (speaker, female)
Part 15: Story of French planting under olive trees. At Ashton they have had a lot of experiments, cowslips grew to 4 times their normal size, then got a root and fungal disease. Planting in an awful straight line was the only solution. You may get colour variations. Miriam Rothschild [MR] has a dark red cowslip, and now many variants. This started as a plug in the lawn. Wild flowers grown from seed must not have good soil. You can transform them by growing them in a different place. MR has not done any proper recording of her own wild flower growing. At the beginning she published some papers, particularly about the financial side. Growing had to be done by the farms. It fell on deaf ears. Now the seed merchants are doing it, it will go ahead in that way. MR did the Prince of Wales wild flowers at Highgrove. This was worth a million pounds of advertising. She mixed tulips in with them. He is a good man, ahead of his time. The gardeners don't like wild flowers. Story of problems at Badminton. At Highgrove MR gave them a hedge of wild roses and brambles. Also did his pond flowers. Story of the kingfisher on the opening day. MR has just got a commission to do the Aga Khan's garden in Switzerland. The Swiss have taken up the Prince of Wales seed mixture which is expensive. The Swiss grow wonderful pot plants. She has been asked to do something in Japan. The Japanese go in for the perfection of each flower, but on a huge scale.
Interview with Dame Miriam Rothschild DBE FRS, naturalist and entomologist.