The herbarium of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, near London, where many of Georgiana’s specimens are archived. They had a long journey through the hands of several collectors before being deposited there by the botanist George Bentham in 1854, three years before Georgiana’s husband John Molloy died in Western Australia.
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In 2013, we walked around Kew Botanical Gardens and looked for plantings that were there in 1829 when Georgiana visited. She was staying in London waiting to board the ship to Australia. This twisted old ‘Japanese Pagoda’ tree was planted in 1760 and was on a main pathway in part of the original, much smaller, […]
With Dr Alex George looking at Georgiana’s specimen of the Augusta kennedia at Kew herbarium. Differences in spelling over time (kennedya/kennedia) and changes of name in the past can be confusing, but the current botanical name is now the correct one and recognises the plant’s brick red flowers (Latin: latericius meaning brick)
At first sight, the thin, apparently insignificant stems of tiny, twining Drosera are hard to see among the other plants they use for support. But, when they flower, the petals seem so large for the little stems that they instantly become luxurious beauties and the way they have adapted to become carnivorous is a botanical […]
These delicate little orchids are always the first to appear in the bush around our home, not long after the first rains of autumn. They would almost certainly have been the first local orchids Georgiana saw after arriving in Augusta. So small they aren’t easy to spot in the undergrowth, but always perfect and a […]
Spider orchid growing in one of Georgiana’s most frequent collecting places, close to her home on the Blackwood River in Western Australia. I’m not an expert on our native orchids so please let me know, botanists, if I’ve identified this one incorrectly!
This bright pink-flowered boronia was eventually renamed for Georgiana. She collected it around Fairlawn, growing in sandy, well-drained soil near the river. She wrote that it ‘seeks banks’. This one is in our garden. It’s not as fragrant as its brown-flowered relatives but the vibrant pink petals grow on tall stems and are always warmly […]
Majestic and very slow-growing, tall specimens may be hundreds of years old. Georgiana was desperately trying to collect the seeds to send to Mangles in the last weeks of her life. If I was ever forced to choose just one favourite West Australian tree or plant, this might just be the one.
Georgiana’s diaries are available to view on microfiche but seeing the originals is a different experience. I’ve been lucky enough to see these precious little books first-hand and closeness reveals more. The pages themselves hint at the pressure of the quill pen she used, giving subtle clues about her mood at the time of writing. […]
I’ve visited the archives in Carlisle in the north of England many times now and on each occasion I lose myself completely in the ancient documents there. There’s something new to transcribe each time. This one was a will from the 1700s that shed light on how Georgiana’s great-grandfather acquired the land in Carlisle where […]