The Great Geranium Robbery

The late 18th century saw a big expansion in Britain’s empire and as a result the importation of lots of “new” and “exotic” plants from all round the world. They were bought into commercial production, and our gardens and greenhouses by specialist nurserymen like Danield Grimwood of Kensington. In 1795 rare plants were stolen from the his nursery grounds including some newly introduced geraniums and ericas from South Africa. A suspect was quickly identified and arrested but strongly protested his innocence. The case ended up at the Old Bailey and pitted  Grimwood against the  plant collector who was accused of stealing it.   This is the story not just of the court case that focussed on the stolen geraniums but the way that the range of plants in Britain’s gardens increased so rapidly and the ways that plant nurseries operated. It might sound dull and boring but its anything but!