Bicentenary Montage Unveiling
"I would like to give a huge thank you to the folk of Halesworth for inviting me to this very special event to honour Sir Joseph Hooker.
A lot of people aren’t aware of how much work has gone into this project. A small team under the leadership of Tamsyn Imoson have achieved in a short space of time what would have taken a whole professional team years to do what they have done and if I had a hat I would take it off to them.
First of all Joseph Son of Sir Willian Jackson Hooker was Born in Halesworth in the year 1817. In 1865 succeeded his father as director of the Royal Botanical gardens of Kew. He was one of the greatest figures in the history of scientific gardening.
Interesting to note that he had an extreme dislike to taking life of insects and animals and the sight of blood made him feel ill. This made him take a keen interest in botany.
Joseph travelled widely and on one occasion a cargo of tallow was found to be on fire, there was no hope of reaching land and if the ship the Orion had not rescued the crew we would not be discussing this famous man today. There are many plant species that are associated with the Hooker family and we have some of them here today.
When I moved to Waveney in 1982 as Parks Superintendent I hadn’t been in the job for very long When the Planning Department called me into the office to discuss the reinstatement of the Hooker Garden in Halesworth. They had found a small sum of money to finance this scheme. I managed to locate some plants associated with the Hooker Family. I contacted a firm in Devon to purchase some seed. Some varieties were available and I was assured the remainder would follow.
Some weeks later I received a telephone call to say these seeds would not be delivered as the seed collectors in the Himalayan area had all been shot by poachers. It wasn’t just a dangerous job for original plant collectors but also for modern ones too.
It just remains now to unveil this Bicentenary Montage."
Brian Thornton, 30th June 2017