Saturday, March 07, 2009

On this day in 1804.....

......The Royal Horticultural Society, dedicated to advancing good gardening, is founded by Joseph Wedgewood. It wasn't actually Royal at that time, that came later.

On this day in 1804 David Douglas, Botanist and Plant Collector extraordinaire, was only four years old. Douglas's explorations in the 1820s & 1830s were funded by the Horticultural Society before his death in dreadful circumstances on Hawaii in 1834.

Long-time readers of this blog will recall that I'm involved in making a TV documentary on Douglas's life and works. Last year this blog followed his footsteps contemporaneously across North America to York Factory on the shores of Hudson's Bay, culminating in a filming trip at York Factory with polar bears and other adventures. To bring you up to date, the film crew have just returned from Hawaii where they filmed at Douglas's grave and the site of his death (without me, sadly, altho I've been to these locations before).

We start filming again in the UK in May, with a week in London and a week in Scotland. I'm off to the RHS and Kew on Monday to discuss details. In the meantime parallel blogging (Woody in 2009, Douglas in 1826) will resume shortly. For the moment, here is Douglas considering his position in the Pacific Northwest, Feb 1826:

"From what I have seen in the country, and what I have been enabled to do, there is still much to be done; after a careful consideration as to the propriety of remaining for a season longer than instructed to do, I have resolved not to leave for another year to come. From what I have seen of the upper country towards the headwaters of this river [the Columbia] and the boundless track contiguous to the Rocky Mountains, I cannot in justice to the Horticultural Society's interests do otherwise."

Finally, here's an offer you don't get very often - I do slide lectures/talks on David Douglas to anyone who'll listen. No charge, just pay my expenses in getting there & back. Post a comment if interested.


Nutty Gnome said...

Well, well, well - you are a man of hidden talents Woody!
TV eh?!
When will it be shown? - so I can be sure to watch out for it.

Woody Wilbury said...

Thanks Nutty. It'll be a while yet before it gets onto any screens; after filming in the UK there's more to do in Oregon & California by the crew (who are based there). Then there's post-production; in truth I don't really know what that is (!) but it seems terribly important.

Lashings of midnight oil might then get us to a premiere in Perth (Douglas's birthplace) in late Autumn this year. We're planning a US premiere (doesn't everyone?) in Portland, Oregon in the Spring. The whole thing is not-for-profit, with an educational bias, so I'm never going to be able to retire on it.