History of science and research in the garden at Down House

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Antony O’Rourke, English Heritage Down House, Head Gardener Antony is a graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. He has worked in numerous botanical gardens including the University of Bristol, Tresco Abbey in the Isles of Scilly and the Jerusalem Botanical gardens in Israel where he managed their centre for plant introduction and propagation. More recently he ran his own very successful Ltd company in west London designing and maintaining high end gardens for a diverse client base. Antony is a passionate plants person and has amassed extensive knowledge in the cultivation and natural history of many plant groups. His particular passion is for carnivorous plants, orchids, tropical plants and hardy herbaceous. Antony started a little over a year ago at Down and set about a programme of restoration of Emma Darwin’s mingled border and perennial weed eradication. Says Antony, ‘I’m looking forward to presenting the garden as the Darwin’s would have known it, from the ornamental beds through to the produce grown in the kitchen garden and of course bringing to life the narrative of the experimental Mr. Darwin at Down.’