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Author Topic: Mary Stewart - information about her early horticultural information sought.  (Read 254 times)

Maggi Young

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The SRGC has received this note from Brenda Turner, who is seeking information about any training or horticutural history that Mary Stewart may have had, either in Scotland or Canada.
Our own Alison Ward has found that Mary moved to Canada even before the founding of the SRGC, so she was probably not an SRGC member at that time. Any information other than that which Ms Turner has already found would be much appreciated.

Ms Turner wrote:
 " As a volunteer, I am doing some research related to a garden at a nearby provincial museum, Prescott House, Starrs Point, Nova Scotia, Canada, https://prescotthouse.novascotia.ca/ , and hope that you can assist me with information about one of the garden designers, Mary Stewart, from Glasgow. In the late 1930s, the rock gardens at Prescott House were designed by a Scottish landscape gardener, Mary Stewart (1872-1958), and I am trying to find out more about her background and work in Scotland and Quebec. Mary designed the rock gardens at Cataraqui Estates Quebec City, for her friend Catherine Rhodes in 1936, that estate now a provincial heritage site. https://www.capitale.gouv.qc.ca/sites-de-la-capitale/parcs/domaine-cataraqui/The historian from Cataqui has little information about Mary.

 Here is the information I have gathered about Mary Stewart: Mary was born January 1872? to Sarah Walker Scott and John Gilchrist Stewart, with the family residing in Springburn, Glasgow, Scotland. The 1891 Scotland Census lists the family residence as Hilda Villa Crow Rd, Glasgow, and Mary at age 19 is a scholar. The 1901 Scotland Census has the family living on Balshagray Ave, Govan, Glasgow, and John G Stewart, age 61 is a shipbuilder who employs his sons as clerks in his business. Mary is age 29 and listed as an unmarried daughter. By this date, Sarah Walker Scott has died (1899) so I am assuming that Mary may be running the household for her father- but this is an assumption!

 In 1926 or 28? Mary Stewart came to Canada, now in her 50s, and took up residence with her sister Robertina (Stewart) and brother-in-law, Thomas Reid Peacock. Their residence was 76 De Salaberry Quebec City, Quebec.
 Thomas Reid Peacock was an architect both in Glasgow and Quebec. http://dictionaryofarchitectsincanada.org/node/610
In the 1931 Census of Canada, Mary Stewart age 55? resides at 76 Salaberry with the Peacock family and her occupation is listed as Landscape gardener of her Own Account. Mary died in 1958, as did her sister Robertina (Tina) and is buried beside her sister, brother-in-law, and nephew at Mount Hermon Cemetery, Quebec, Canada.

As you can see, I have not been able to find out much about Mary as a gardener. Did she have any formal training or work with landscape architects in Glasgow? Did she work in Quebec other than at Cataraqui with Catherine Rhodes and Percyval Tudor-Hart ? Are there other rock gardens that she designed during her years in Glasgow? Did she work in association with her brother-in-law, the architect? I am uncertain about Scottish sources I could consult that may provide information about Mary’s gardening training or career. It seems unlikely to me that she only practiced landscape gardening in Canada, but I am uncertain as to Scottish sources of information I can access online. At Scotland's Garden and Landscape Heritage, Christopher searched his archives and libraries without success. Additionally, I have been in contact with the Glasgow archives, and have reviewed the Glasgow telephone directories without finding a listing for Mary Stewart, gardener.
I am wondering if there is a member of your group who may have knowledge of Mary Stewart as a landscape gardener in Glasgow.
Our  Nova Scotia rock gardens need some attention and we would like to restore them in a manner sympathetic to the style Mary might have employed in the 1930s.
Thank you for any information or advice you may offer.

 Brenda Turner"

Alison Ward of the SRGC Glasgow Group notes that she  " came across a PHd thesis by Deborah Reid, entitled “Unsung Heroines of Horticulture, Scottish Female Gardeners 1800 - 1930” I had a quick look at the list of contents but Mary Stewart was not one of the featured gardeners although she may be mentioned - I haven’t read the thesis yet! I did suggest to Brenda that she might contact Deborah Reid directly - she is a visiting lecturer at the university of Edinburgh."

If anyone can help with this project, please contact Brenda Turner, bmaeturner@gmail.com
Thank you!
« Last Edit: March 12, 2024, 04:15:36 PM by Maggi Young »
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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