Sunday, March 25, 2018

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'George Harwood'

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'George Harwood'
photo by Arthur Gulliver (Your Garden magazine)
This full page colour photo of 'George Harwood' appeared in the second edition of the book Garden Trees and Shrubs in Australia  by Harold Sargeant (Macmillan of Australia 1968) 
The first edition of this book was published in 1951 with the title including Asia as in Australasia. ( Colorgravure Publications )
 Described as 'a new pink variety' for Melbourne gardens, it had made its way south from Sydney where it made its first appearance way back in 1902 having been bred by the George Harwood who at the time was a propagator, overseer and superintendent at the Royal Botanic Gardens. His tenure there was from 1883 to 1914. 
Of note is the watercolour painting of it now in the Mitchell Library (State Library of NSW) by Essex born Margaret Flockton who would go on to be described as 'the most accomplished botanical artist in NSW'. Her legacy is ongoing and today she inspires a new generation to pursue botanical illustration.

So where can this Hibiscus be found today?
While not available commercially it is probably still around in an old garden as Hibiscus are great survivors always flowering despite years of drought and neglect.
Recently I thought I might have found it in a 1960's/1970's planted garden growing just a metre away from a huge peppermint gumtree which was probably planted at the same time.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'George Harwood' ??
I will leave the question marks in place until someone can confirm my naming.

Margaret Lilian Flockton (1861-1953)
Botanical Artist

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