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Balls, Edward Kent

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Balls, Edward Kent

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  • E.K. Balls
  • EK Balls

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Dates of existence

1892-1984

History

Born Essex 1892; died Yorkshire 1984
Edward Balls was involved in Quaker relief work in Europe and Russia during World War I and began work in a Stevenage nursery in 1926 where he studied alpines and designed and planted a number of rock gardens, including an open air reptillary at Regents Park Zoo. During the 1930s he became a professional plant hunter, going on expeditions to Persia, Turkey, Morocco, Greece and Mexico and his collections of herbarium specimens were sent to Kew, Edinburgh and gardens abroad. His accounts of his often dangerous journeys appeared in the Gardeners Chronicle and he wrote in many other journals. The Imperial Agricultural Bureau sent him to South America in 1939 to collect plants including wild and cultivated potatoes. Balls discovered new species including Verbascum ballsii and Verbena ballsii. He was horticulturalist at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden from 1949 until his retirement in 1960, specialising the cultivation of native plants in desert and rock gardens, eventually returning to Britain in 1978.
Sources: R. Desmond ‘Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists’; Times obituary 9/11/84
D.W.

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