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Philip Miller timeline


1632 – Foundation of the Oxford Physic Garden
1670 – Foundation of the Edinburgh Botanic Garden
1673 – Foundation of The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries (The Chelsea Physic Garden)
1682 – An international seed and plant exchange established after the garden was visited by Dutch Professor of Botany at Leiden University, Paul Hermann. Production of seed catalogues (Index Semina) was to later become a major means of plant exchange and aquisition through the world’s network of botanic gardens
1683Hortus Medicus Edinburgensis published by its Head Gardener of the Edinburgh Medicinal Garden, James Sutherland
1685 – Visit by diarist John Evelyn who records a meeting with Keeper Watts and the presence of a heated glasshouse (one of the few in Europe at this time)
1690 – The hothouse, developed in Holland, was introduced to England’s Hampton Court from Holland by William and Mary, enabling the cultivation of tropical plants
1721 – Observes the transfer by insects of pollen between flowers
1723-1770 – Curator Chelsea Physic Garden
1723 – Starting work at the Chelsea Physic Garden (est. 1673) in 1722 he is appointed Head Gardener in 1723
1724 – Publication of The Gardener’s and Florists Dictionary or a Complete System of Horticulture
1725 – Formation of the Society of Gardeners set up to remedy confusion over plant names
1727 – Visits the Leiden Botanic Garden where the eminent Hermann Boerhave was Director and also Professor of Botany at the Leiden University
1730Catalogus Plantarum, list of names produced by the Society of Gardeners, mainly the work of Miller
1730-1770 Increases the number of cultivated species from about 1000 to 5000
1731 – Publication of The Gardener’s Dictionary containing the Methods of Cultivating and Improving the Kitchen Fruit and Flower Garden
1732 – Requests from Boerhaave for plants from Chelsea
1736Linnaeus makes three visits to the Chelsea Physic Garden showering Miller with praise but the difficult pair do not get along
1754-1758 – Supervises William Aiton, subsequent Head Gardener at Kew
1760sBanks becomes a regular visitor to the garden, Miller instilling in Banks an enthusiasm for plant collection
1764 – Nurseryman Peter Collinson declares Chelsea Physic Garden the best garden in Europe
1768 – Eighth edition of the Dictionary published, this time using Linnaean classification
1774 – Miller’s private herbarium purchased by Joseph Banks eventually passing to the British Museum of Natural History
1826 – Forsyth Jr publishes History of English Gardening under the name George William Johnson – the first history of English gardening

First published on the internet – 1 March 2019
. . . revised 12 February 2021

Four phases of human history. Image Courtesy Rob Cross – June 2019

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