Archive for the ‘wartime garden’ Category

Remembering Ernest Joseph Hiskins Melbourne Botanic Gardens RAAF died 15 April 1944 WW2

April 15, 2019

 

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RBG Melbourne staff memorial tree plaque (Photo by Graham Saunders via Monuments Australia website)

Remembering Flight Sergeant Ernest John Hiskins of the Royal Australian Air Force who died 75 years ago on 15 April 1944, formerly staff of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, where he is commemorated on their staff memorial tree. 

His RAAF records list him as a Botanist and we know he worked at the Melbourne Botanic Gardens as he is listed alongside A.W.  Bugg, a WW1 casualty on the tree plaque.

This memorial Lophosternum or Brush Box tree was planted on 10 September 1945

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Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne staff memorialLophosternum or Brush Box  tree (Photo by Graham Saunders via Monuments Australia 

His CWGC records list him as Flight Sergeant Ernest Joseph Hiskins, Royal Australian Air Force, 410058, who died on active service against the Japanese on the 15th April 1944.

He is remembered on Panel 9 of the Northern Territory Memorial, alongside his pilot H.S. Ashbolt. He is listed as the son of Ernest Barton Hiskins and Alice Mary Hiskins, of Brunswick, Victoria, Australia.

n terr mem cwgc

Hiskins and his crew member RAAF pilot Ashbolt are remembered on the Northern Territory Memorial, Australia (Image CWGC website)

Hiskins and Ashbolt flew Bristol Beaufighters with 31 Sqaudron RAAF / RAF. There is much about  31 Squadron on the Australian War memorial website, including photographs.

It mentions that No. 31 Squadron, based at Coomalie Creek (near Darwin, Australia), flew ground attack sorties against the Japanese in Timor and the Netherlands East Indies, as well as anti-shipping patrols and convoy protection missions.

On 15 April 1944, there is an entry:
“Damaged by Japanese Anti Aircraft Fire which knocked out starboard engine. After flying for 20 minutes on port engine, aircraft lost height and crashed into the Timor Sea.”
The crew Pilot Flight Sergeant H.S.Ashbolt, and Navigator Flight Sergeant E.J. Hiskins were in action as part of formation of 31 Squadron Beaufighters attacking Japanese positions at Soe village in Timor.

According to his ADF Gallery / RAAF file, his Beaufighter developed a starboard engine oil leak from Japanese anti aircraft fire:
“the aircraft was seen to lose speed and height and strike the water 60 nautical miles off the South Coast of Timor. The only wreckage was part of a fin, wing, dinghy and three fuel tanks. There was no sign of the crew.”

sxtaff mem tree RBG melbourne

The original photograph and now vanished 1996 web page for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne.

His RAAF air force records list him as a graduate of a Crown Horticulture Scholarship at Burnley Horticulture School (still open today) in 1937-39 and working at Lands Department (State) Treasury Gardens Melbourne.

Sadly Ernest’s brother Wireless Officer K.J. Hiskins was also killed flying in Wellington bombers with 70 Squadron RAF on 26 June 1944. He is buried in Budapest Cemetery.

You can read more about both these two WW1 and WW2 Melbourne Botanic Gardens casualties:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/buggs-life-and-death-royal-botanic-gardens-melbourne-staff-memorial-tree/

Posted on the 75th anniversary of Ernest Hiskins and pilot  H.S. Ashbolt’s deaths – 15 April 1944 / 2019 – Remembered. 

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, 15 April 2019

Post script – I will put a link and details onto this online memorial

https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/47094

 

Food, allotments and rationing in WW1

March 27, 2019

Interesting WW1 centenary legacy from Richmond in London with this snippet about wartime gardening and rationing in WW1. An attractive website worth looking at.

richmond allotments

https://richmondww1.orleanshousegallery.org/food-and-drink

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens, 27 March 2019

Gardening in Wartime WW1 Resources

September 17, 2018

parks and gardens uk ww1 page

Our World War Zoo Gardens Blog and especially the much visited blog post on the Kew Gardens Staff War Memorial WW1

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/such-is-the-price-of-empire-the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-in-the-first-world-war/

is mentioned on the Park and Gardens UK website page on Gardening in Wartime WW1 Resources

http://www.parksandgardens.org/projects/gardening-in-wartime/753-a-selection-of-wwi-resources

This Parks and Gardens UK website is well worth visiting, especially for the garden history and social history pages  including  the many fascinating links about how WW1 affected the gardening profession, parks and estates. 

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 17 September 2018.

Gardening with Children 1908 and 2018

August 15, 2018

Jekyll children

 

1908 and 2018 – an interesting question: How best do you involve children in gardening? This is something staff at a zoological or botanic garden are sometimes asked, because gardening can be good for wildlife, for sustainability and for your mental health.

A blog comment or email from the USA arrived at Newquay Zoo recently:

“My name is Scott. I am writing to you because as a gardening Dad with two kids I understand how important it is to spend time with them in a constructive way.”

I am fortunate to have (had) lots of fun chats with children and families whilst working in our World War Zoo Gardens wartime allotment at Newquay Zoo. Some children sneakily eat the edible stuff when I’m not there. Best of all, children often tell me about what they grow at home or in school.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2018/08/06/overheard-at-the-world-war-zoo-gardens/

How to Get Children Gardening

Back in 1908 the famous British garden writer and designer Gertrude Jekyll (rhymes with treacle) wrote a surprising book for its time called Children and Gardens. It was published by Country Life in both Britain and America.

Since reprinted and still available, you can also read a scanned Archive.org  copy here, free:

https://archive.org/stream/childrengardens00jeky

Within a decade as World War 1 ground on, as most of the younger gardeners were called up on active service, these same British children would be encouraged at home and school to grow their own  food. The German U-boat submarine blockades seriously hit the import of food to Britain by merchant shipping.  Bad harvests were recorded in 1916 / 1917, leading to food ration books being issued in Britain in 1918.

American children were also encouraged to grow food, as part of Uncle Sam’s patriotic United States Schools Garden Army, after the USA entered the war in 1917. https://blogs.loc.gov/inside_adams/2017/01/the-school-garden-army-in-the-first-world-war/

This was WW2 Dig For Victory  25 years early, as mentioned in my March 2013 blogpost on Herbert Cowley, an injured WW1 gardening writer who was a friend and photographer to Gertrude Jekyll:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/dig-for-victory-1917-world-war-1-style-the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-and-the-fortunate-herbert-cowley-1885-1967/

Gertrude Jekyll in 1908 had some interesting ideas about giving children ownership and pride in their gardens:

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Staking your territory and naming it in plants.

I hope Gertrude Jekyll’s book encouraged at least a few parents of  posh Edwardian children to let them get a little bit dirty, wear practical working clothes and grow some food in real dirt.

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It might have given them a tiny but valuable appreciation of the manual toil of the working classes around the world who put food on their tables.

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From Children and Gardens … almost a feel or  look of Heligan gardens before that garden went quietly to sleep after WW1.

Hopefully some Edwardian children had some muddy, spud eating fun growing up, because of Gertrude Jekyll’s 1908 book.

Dyb Dyb Dig!

It is also interesting to note that the Baden Powell Scout Movement came into being around this time (1907/8), quickly followed by the Guides (191)) for the kind of girls who had already cleverly highjacked or gatecrashed their brothers’ opportunities to set up scout troops.

http://www.scoutsrecords.org/explore.php?dil=&icerik=80&bparent=CB6FCCF1AB7A8F1765FC3A9D09C9ACAE&

Girl Guides can be seen market gardening in 1917 here in this IWM image Q 108289 : https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205087807

Interesting IWM WW1 Centenary article:

https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/10-ways-children-took-part-in-the-first-world-war

CHILDREN ON THE HOME FRONT 1914-1918

WW1 school girls  involved in gardening –  IWM image Q31135

CHILDREN ON THE HOME FRONT 1914-1918 © IWM (Q 31155)

CHILDREN ON THE HOME FRONT 1914-1918

IWM Q31153 Horace Nicholls’ WW1  photo of British Schoolgirls growing food. 

CHILDREN ON THE HOME FRONT 1914-1918 © IWM (Q 31153)

Some photos even show air raid shocked children gardening as convalescence and therapy https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205296421

THE MEDICAL SERVICES ON THE HOME FRONT, 1914-1918

© IWM (Q 30542)

Caption: Air-raid shocked girls from the Llangattock School of Arts and Crafts, gardening their own plots at the Kitchener Heritage home for air-raid shocked children and educative convalescence for disabled soldiers at Chailey, Sussex. IWM Collection:  THE MEDICAL SERVICES ON THE HOME FRONT, 1914-1918 © IWM (Q 30542)

2018: It is the final year of the 1914-18 centenary. Within ten years of 1908, plenty of the young boys shown in Gertrude’s book would have been in khaki uniform and have had a very different experience of digging and mud than you could ever wish for anyone.

Some of the girls could have ended up working the land in the WW1 version of Land Girls, growing herbs or nursing for the same war effort.

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As the book was reprinted in 1933, some  photographs appear to have been retaken orupdated,  as I have seen some charmingly relaxed 1930s/ 1940s versions of my parent’s generation.

These 1908 pictures of children in the garden are surreal, whimsical, reminiscent of E. Nesbit and The Secret Garden, Cottingley fairies, Beatrix Potter and Alice in Wonderland.

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Some garden sandpit, this one!

childrengardens00jeky_0158 in the sand pit

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This is in part an improving, natural history book, practically written advice to children and written for children (and parents) to read.
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There is a whole chapter on Gertrude Jekyll’s cats sunning themselves in the garden, a hundred years before Youtube and The Internet was invented to show cute cat videos.

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Lots of personal childhood experiences in Gertrude’s book.

Most important is a patch of ground that a child can call its own to play, dig  or grow stuff. Modern urban British back gardens tend to be far too tiny.

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Gardening advice, Boy’s Own Paper August 1940 – I’m not sure children would be allowed to mess around with Derris Dust today!

Dig for Victory gardens (or Victory Gardens in the USA) in WW2 were important ways to feed the family and involve schools and children in the war effort.

Popular monthly children’s magazines would have gardening articles by famous gardening authors:  https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/gardening-and-garden-centres-for-growing-wartime-boys-tomboys-and-garden-gnomes-“go-to-it-lads”-the-boy’s-own-paper-august-1940/

 

Scott’s email 2018

1908 / 1918 / / 1940 / 2018: I was reminded of all this Children and Gardens material when I received an interesting email from a fellow blogger in the USA:

“My name is Scott and I am writing to you because as a gardening Dad with two kids I understand how important it is to spend time with them in a constructive way. This seems particularly important today as kids would rather spend their time watching Disney Channel or playing video games when given a choice between TV and playing outside.”

I’m sure the Wild Network movement would agree with Scott about the threat of us all becoming a nation of “glassy eyed zombies” on I-pads and I-phones, or as my 1970s childhood version, “square eyed”.  However, before anyone complains,  video games and cartoons have their place in life.

Scott at the Architypes blog continues:

“Now as a blogger I have combined my experience with gardening and kids to create a helpful guide to prove that with a little creativity you can get kids excited about gardening.

You can see Scott’s ideas here: https://www.architypes.net/gardening/kids/

Scott came across World War Zoo gardens through our blog post  https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/category/vegetable-gardening/page/4/ while doing some research and thought you might be interested in some of his ideas.

“Perhaps you could mention it on your blog or links page. Please let me know what you think, it would be great to work with you. Thanks for your time, Scott.”

There is some good advice from Scott in his article that I’m sure Gertrude Jekyll and the 1940s Dig For Victory gardeners would approve of.

Thankfully there are today some good books and websites on involving children with gardens, both in school, home and the community. Here are a few more websites from the UK, Australia and America, once you have read through Scott’s ideas:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/gardening_with_children/

https://www.rhs.org.uk/education-learning/gardening-children-schools

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/gardening-for-children

https://kidsgardening.org/

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/children

As the modern Gerturde Jekyll of gardening TV today, Alan Titchmarsh, would say: “Whatever the Weather, Enjoy Your Garden!”

childrengardens00jeky_0171 paired children

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo, August  2018.

 

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Our contribution to the UK-wide “Ribbon of Poppies”, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, July 2018. This is where I start singing from our old school hymnbook Pete Seeger’s 1950s / 1960s protest song “Where have all the flowers gone?” 

The Dambusters Do A Bit Of Gardening

May 15, 2018

dambusters-gardeningYou may have noticed news stories about the 75th anniversary of the Dambusters Raid in May 1943 on the Ruhr Dams.

Hard to look at this photo  and not think of the theme tune to The Dambusters movie. (Duh Duh duh duh duh duh de duh duh …)

I picked this wartime photo up as a copy from an online source, as it shows a little off-duty R&R and Dig For Victory, although it is hard to see exactly what is being planted.

These airfield gardens are the kind of ephemeral gardens that sprung up briefly in wartime, remembered today only in photographs or ‘ghost marks’ on the ground (as such traces were called by Kenneth Helphand, Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime).

Obviously not all of these RAF Bomber Command crews would live to see these gardens flower and vegetables harvested, given the low life expectancy and high casualty rates of such bomber crews. Such wartime gardens also gave pleasure and rations to downed RAF crews, gardening in POW (Prisoner of War) Camps in Occupied Europe.

dambusters-gardening

Guy Gibson, his black dog mascot and some of the Dambusters crews of 617 Squadron gardening between sorties.

This curious (posed propaganda?) photo shows one of Guy Gibson’s Dambusters crews gardening for relaxation in between bombing  sorties.

Interestingly it  looks possibly like flowers rather than vegetables during the WW2 Dig For Victory campaign.

In the background, you can see their iconic and famous  Lancaster bombers.

The Dambusters crews No. 617 Squadron are famous for taking part in the attack on the Mohne and Ruhr Dams as part of Operation Chastise.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Chastise

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._617_Squadron_RAF

This picture is likely to have been taken at their base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Scampton

This Wikipedia entry also shows the grave of his famous black dog mascot who died the same night as the raid.

The Commanding Officer of 617 Squadron  Guy Gibson (1918-44) has local Cornish connections to Porthleven, near to us here in Cornwall. Some of the local road names in Porthleven have Gibson and aircraft connections, and there is a plaque to him on the famous Porthleven harbour tower.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Gibson

http://www.rocassoc.org.uk/open/items/gr10/guy_gibson.htm

The Dambusters have a memorial garden in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire commemorating those who took part in the raids. http://www.dambusters.org.uk/commemoration/

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 15 May 2018.

Wartime January Gardening Advice

January 26, 2018

 

middleton calender coverA wet but mildish start to the year with nothing much happening in the World War Zoo wartime garden at Newquay Zoo in January.

What would Wartime gardening expert Mr. Middleton have to say about January gardening?

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/mr-middletons-january-gardening-advice-1943/

Gertrude Jekyll’s Google Doodle

November 29, 2017

google doodle

Great to see a colourful Google Doodle celebrating Gertrude Jekyll (rhymes with treacle), famous Victorian and Edwardian garden designer on her 174th birthday.

Gertrude Jekyll was a friend of Herbert Cowley, a slightly forgotten garden writer, photographer  and magazine editor, who trained at Kew Gardens and was invalided out of the WW1 trenches with serious injuries.

Herbert Cowley died  in Newton Abbot, Devon 50 years ago this November 1967.

Herbert Cowley 1885-1967

Herbert Cowley (1885-1967) from his Kew Guil journal obituary 1968

Herbert Cowley (1885 – 1967) took photographs for Gertrude Jekyll including many of her in her Munstead garden. this like many late WW1 gardens was sacrificing sections to produce food for the war effort.

The Fate of The South Border

The Fate of The South Border, Gertrude Jekyll, January 20, 1917, The Garden magazine

The Google Doodle of Miss Jekyll, featuring her tiny portrit amongst colourful borders of flowers, reminds me of a lovely article by Judith Tankard for Country Life (a magazine that Herbert Cowley worked and wrote for), blending the famous image of Gertrude Jekyll in her Munstead Garden in 1918 with how it has been restored today.

gertrude jekyll

Gertrude Jekyll photographed by Herbert Cowley, back in her garden in this article / photograph by Judith Tankard in Country Life, 27 April 2011  

http://judithtankard.com/_pdf/contry_lif_427_11.pdf

 

Gertrude Jekyll would be involved after WW1 with architect Edwin Lutyens and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission  in the planting and design in some of the many cemeteries they maintain for Allied casualties, creating that little bit of a country garden or English garden all over the world.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/dig-for-victory-1917-world-war-1-style-the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-and-the-fortunate-herbert-cowley-1885-1967/

Gertrude Jekyll has an official website http://gertrudejekyll.co.uk/

Herbert Cowley does not have an official website, however some of his books on Alpine or Rock Gardening are still in print almost a hundred years later.

There wasn’t much material pre-2013 about Herbert Cowley, lots about Gertrude Jekyll, so I researched enough to write this blog article and the Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Cowley.

Gertrude Jekyll, happy birthday! 

Herbert Cowley, remembered 50 years after his death.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 29 November 2017.

 

 

Laggard Spring 1917

March 21, 2017

Spring 1917 Wartime – March 21st , uncannily like the weather today a century later. Hail and sunshine.

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Homeland A Year of Country Days by PWDI (Percy W. D. Izzard) 1918

Here in the preface, Percy Izzard sets out the structure for his year of inspirational short pieces about country life. These are  made especially poignant or valuable as his work was read not only by “war-workers … men and women of country heart who are pent now for England’s sake in the reek of great towns” isolated from the countryside but also  “amid the cruel distractions of war” by troops in the trenches who obtained a Daily Mail from friends and families.

Based on letters received from soldiers, Percy Izzard realised that his daily entries  provided to “soldier lads in France and Flanders, in rough notes pencilled on the battlefields … glimpses of the Homeland  for which they long and fight.”

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This book of nature writing by Percy Izzard,  reproduced from his nature  column in the Daily Mail, begins unusually not on January 1st but on the first day of spring 1917, the spring equinox, March 21st.

It finishes a year later on March 20th and Izzard’s preface, written after preparing them for publication in book form, was written on April 21st, 1918.

Having checked the obvious date references, like references to Sundays etc, I am fairly sure this is written from March 1917 to March 1918 onwards as the First World War raged across Europe.

It finishes documenting country life in Britain during this year of attrition and killing, on March 20 1918  just as the Western Front collapses with the German onslaught of late March 1918.

The Writer Percy Izzard?

I have previously written about Percy Izzard and this Homeland book on this and a local history blog:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/remembering-william-donald-pascoe-april-1915-primrose-day-and-percy-izzard/

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/remembering-william-donald-pascoe-died-20-april-1915/

Percy W. (William) D. Izzard OBE (September 1877 – 1968) was the well-known gardening correspondent on the Daily Mail newspaper.

He was author of several books on gardening including Grow it Yourself: Daily Mail Practical Instruction Book on Food from the Garden in War-Time (1940), one of the  Dig For Victory books in my collection of WWII gardening books.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percy_Izzard

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 21 March 2017

 

Doctor Carrot and WW2 secrets

October 18, 2016

carrots-ww2

Secret carrots – part of our wartime zoo schools workshop trail.

 

Read more about the exciting wartime history of carrots on the Carrot Museum website (I don’t get to type that sentence very often!)

http://carrotmuseum.co.uk/history4.html

Another of our blogposts on the interesting story about how diets and rationing were linked to WW2 through the pioneering work of nutritionist Elsie Widdowson:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/elsie-widdowson-and-ww2-rationing/

Sadly I believe that the Tomato Museum on Guernsey (mentioned in the BBC TV 1990s The Wartime Kitchen Garden series)  is no more.

It’s amazing what  you find when you’re researching animal nutrition …

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 18 October 2016

Digging For Victory

August 2, 2016

dfv postcard

Fairly random WW2 photographic postcard from our World War Zoo Gardens collection entitled “Digging For Victory”, the name of the Government backed drive to encourage all from schools, scouts, workplaces, families and even zoos to grow their own food.

The back gives really not much more for information, other than the jokey family tone and the cub scout hat.  It reads “Your daft-in-law, doing his turn. Good Scout”.

dfv postcard 2

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project. Newquay Zoo

 


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