The Archibald Archive - introduction
(further links below)
James Cartledge Archibald, born in Scotland in 1941, began his obsession with plants at an early age, exhibiting plants and winning prizes at SRGC shows. During his school holidays and while at university, Jim worked at the Inschriach Nursery of Jack Drake; a place which has been an incubator for many great plants-folk over the years.
It was not long after leaving Edinburgh University that he decided that his interest in plants was to be central in his life. He began his seed hunting expeditions in the early nineteen-sixties and continued with a thoroughness and intellectual dedication that was to mark his life’s work.
From the 1960s Jim was sending seed and sometimes live material by airmail to that great Aberdeen grower, the late Harold Esslemont, who had tremendous respect for Jim's considered approach to planthunting and for the fine plants found and also for the teamwork displayed by Jenny in their long partnership from the 1970s. Jim and Jenny made a lovely garden in Wales and also exhibited plants – at the last show Jim attended in 2010 they had several outstanding exhibits and won a Farrer medal.
There can scarcely be a single person with an interest in alpine plants and bulbs who is not growing plants derived from the world wide seed collections of the Archibalds either directly from seed from Jim and Jenny's seed business JJA Seeds, or from that seed grown on by a multiplicity of nurseries across the world.
The extent of their travels and the scope of their seed introductions is quite enormous. Both with a great eye for a good plant and the determination to travel far and work hard to collect seed, Jim and Jenny made a formidable team, scouring the temperate regions of the world looking for seeds of good plants which they could introduce to our gardens.
Jim could court controversy with his forthright views, often expounded in their seed lists but this was to be expected of an opinionated Scotsman..... It’s in the job description really!
The world of plant-lovers and gardeners was saddened by his death in August 2010.
We dedicate these pages to the work of JCA and the team of JJA, the initials used to identify their seed collections.
Our grateful thanks are due to Jenny Archibald and to Jim’s archivist, David Stephens, for their help in this project.
There is an Archibald Archive thread in the Forum for your comments and contributions about plants you grow from Archibald seed.
Sections planned for the Archibald Archive :
JIM ARCHIBALD : BOTANICAL / HORTICULTURAL CV IN A SEED-CAPSULE
Jim Archibald - The Gap Years
Prior to 1962 Worked at Jack Drake’s alpine-plant nursery at Inshriach, Aviemore, Scotland, during school and university vacations. (Studied English language & literature & philosophy : not botany.)
1962 First trip collecting in Corsica in spring ; High Atlas, Morocco, in July & August
1964 Moved to Dorset to lay foundations of a specialist plant-nursery at Buckshaw Gardens, Dorset.
Collecting seeds in Macedonia & northern Greece in July & August.
1966 Joined in Dorset by Eric Smith, propagator in the herbaceous & alpine department at Hilliers of Winchester.
Travelling from January till September through North Africa & Middle East to Iran. March to September : collecting in Iran (main concerns Dionysia and Iris of Section Oncocyclus.). Returned through Turkey & Europe.
1967 Commenced business in partnership with Eric Smith trading as ‘The Plantsmen’, specializing in growing unusual herbaceous plants and alpines.
1967-1975 Mainly involved with nursery business with occasional collecting (e.g. SE Spain with Lyn Weeks in 1970.)
1975-1983 After Eric Smith retired, Jim & his wife Jenny ran the nursery mainly on a wholesale basis supplying more specialized retail outlets such as the RHS Plant Centre Wisley.
1978 Collecting in Colombia with Jenny.
1979 Collecting in Yugoslavia for Helleborus, etc.
1982 Collecting in Morocco with John Blanchard & Mike Salmon.
1983 Jim & Jenny decide to devote all their time to seed-collecting. Short September-December collecting-trip to Europe after winding-up the nursery.
1984-1986 Jim & Jenny spent most of each summer travelling throughout southern Europe & Turkey collecting seeds. About 3 months spent in Turkey each year.
1987 Collecting in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Arizona & New Mexico based with Panayoti & Gwen Kelaidis at Denver.
1988 Jim & Jenny move from Dorset to Wales to start to grow plants again. Last lengthy journey through Turkey.
1988-2010 Progressively more involved with growing plants for seed-production & establishing the garden in West Wales.
1989 Collecting in California, Oregon, Nevada & Utah, based with Wayne Roderick.
1990 Collected throughout southern Europe.
1991 Collected throughout the Andes of central Chile & Argentina, January to March, with Jenny and John Andrews. Collected through southern Europe in summer.
1992 Collected in western USA, based with Stan Farwig & Vic Girard
1993 Collected in Andes of Ecuador & through western USA with Jenny.
1994 Collected throughout the Andes of central Chile & Argentina, January to March, with Jenny & John Andrews; Turkey with Norman Stevens in June.
1995 Collected in western USA with Jenny.
1996 Collected in Drakensberg, South Africa with Panayoti Kelaidis, February-March, and northern Greece with Norman Stevens & Robert Rolfe in June.
1998 Collected in western USA with Jenny.
2000 Collected in Iran with Norman Stevens & Bob Wallis & western USA with Jenny.
2001 Collected in Iran with Norman Stevens & western USA with Jenny.
2002 Collected in Uzbekistan & Kazakhstan with Norman Stevens.
2003 Collected in Turkey with Norman Stevens and Arnis Seisuns
2005 Collected in Iran and Turkey with Norman Stevens
2007 Collected in Turkey with Norman Stevens
2010 Last trip: collecting in Georgia with Janis Ruksans and others
Sections for the Archibald Archive here :
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