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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   2 October 1879

Royal Gardens Kew

Oct 2/79

Dear Darwin

Write to Masters—& I will to Barron at the Hortl. Socy.—1

Smith2 is away at Brighton, but I fear he knows of no good man, & we have no one we could recommend. What I fear is, that what is botanically called a good gardener would not like your place at all. nor you him, & that you would do better to improve upon what is technically speaking a 2d class man.

Ever aff yrs | Jos. D. Hooker

Lubbock has asked us both to High Elms on Saturday—though Lady L is laid up3   Still we cannot go. I have not forgotten Heliotropic Insectivores. but not begun yet!.4


CD had asked Hooker for recommendations for a new gardener (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 1 October [1879]). Maxwell Tylden Masters was editor of the Gardeners’ Chronicle; Archibald Farquharson Barron was superintendent of the Royal Horticultural Society gardens in London.
John Smith was curator of the herbarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Hooker’s wife was Hyacinth Hooker. Sir John Lubbock’s wife was Ellen Frances Lubbock, who died later in October (letter from Emma Darwin to H. E. Litchfield, [23 October 1879], DAR 219.9: 213).
No recent letters between Hooker and CD on this subject are known. In Movement in plants, p. 450, CD wrote that he had not found insectivorous plants to be heliotropic, which he thought was understandable given that they needed to orientate themselves to catch insects, not receive sunlight. He added that Hooker had exposed the pitchers of Sarracenia to a lateral light, but they did not bend towards it.


JDH looking for a gardener for CD’s unusual needs.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 104: 131–2
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12242,” accessed on 5 December 2021,