Elizabeth Kent (1) [1790–1861]

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Elizabeth Kent was self-taught in foreign languages and botany. Dismayed that a number of potted plants given to her failed to survive, she wrote Flora Domestica, or the Portable Flower-Garden, a guide to container or "portable" gardening, in 1823. The book combines practical instruction on how to select plants that thrive in containers, and in the polluted air of cities, with quotations on gardening and flowers from ancient as well as modern sources. Her other major work was Sylvan Sketches, or a Companion to the Park and the Shrubbery, with Illustrations from the Works of the Poets (1825). Her older sister Marianne had married the poet and journalist Leigh Hunt, and through him Elizabeth came to know the "Cockney School" of Romantic writers such as Keats, Shelley, Mary Shelley, Byron, and Coleridge. She also wrote for the Magazine of Natural History, contributing a series of nine essays on Linnean botanical classification and the identification of plants and their medicinal and culinary uses. She also taught botany and wrote a couple of books for children.


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