Fairchild, Thomas 1667-1729

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Thomas Fairchild was the first English nurseryman to experiment with hybridization of plants. Before 1717 he placed the pollen of sweet william on the style of carnations. Johnson (1829) states that he was one of the few gardeners "uniting a love of science with the practice of his art."

He was the author of The City Gardener (1722) which was the first book on town gardening. His book was particularly important since it listed the plants which could be grown in London even in the 18th Century. It is interesting to note that the most serious problem was the rapid rise of smoke pollution which one can understand in view of the massive number of chimneys and the extensive use of coal current in London even today. The book was purposefully written to enable those who lived in the city to "delight themselves in gardening" and to prepare them to enjoy the country when they retired from business. We also learn that apple trees flowered abundantly within the city but they did not bear fruit unless grafted on dwarfing stock. He gave a considerable list of evergreen trees and flowers for London gardens. He was a leading member of the Society of Gardeners, comprised at first of 19 gardeners, and his name stands first upon a list of members, in the preface of a work published by them in 1730. Catalogus Plantarum - A Catalogue of Trees, Shrubs, etc; for Sale in the Gardens near London by a Society of Gardeners appeared in 1731 after Fairchild's death.