John Tradescant green plaque in Smethwick

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John Tradescant
1608-1662
Royal Gardener

Queen Elizabeth II
Diamond Jubilee 2012

John Tradescant the Younger (4 August 1608 – 22 April 1662), son of John Tradescant the elder, was a botanist and gardener, born in Meopham, Kent and educated at The King's School, Canterbury. Unlike his father, who collected via other people bringing back specimens, he went in person to Virginia between 1628-1637 (and possibly two more trips by 1662, though Potter and other authors doubt this) to collect plants. Among the seeds he brought back, to introduce to English gardens were great American trees, like Magnolias, Bald Cypress and Tulip tree, and garden plants such phlox and asters. He also added to the cabinet of curiosities his American acquisitions such as the ceremonial cloak of Chief Powhatan, one of the most important Native American relics. Tradescant Road, off South Lambeth Road in Vauxhall, marks the former boundary of the Tradescant estate, where the collection was kept. When his father died, he succeeded as head gardener to Charles I and Henrietta Maria of France, making gardens at the Queen's House, Greenwich, designed by Inigo Jones, from 1638 to 1642, when the queen fled the Civil War. He published the contents of his father's celebrated collection as Musaeum Tradescantianum — books, coins, weapons, costumes, taxidermy, and other curiosities — dedicating the first edition to the Royal College of Physicians (with whom he was negotiating for the transfer of his botanic garden), and the second edition to the recently restored Charles II. Tradescant bequeathed his library and museum to (or some say it was swindled from him by) Elias Ashmole (1617–1692), whose name it bears as the core of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford where the Tradescant collections remain largely intact.He was buried beside his father in the churchyard of St-Mary-at-Lambeth which is now established as the Museum of Garden History.He is the subject of the novel Virgin Earth by Philippa Gregory, sequel to Earthly Joys on his father.The standard author abbreviation Trad. is applied to species he described.

Source: dbpedia

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