A study of the genus paeonia

paeonia113aF.C. Stern. Illustrations by Lilian Snelling. Drawings by Lilian Snelling & Stella Ross-Craig. London, RHS, 1946

Ex Libris H.M.E. Cardwell and given by his daughter to D.E. Hardy. On loan to Radley College for this exhibition, and bequeathed to the College in his will by D.E. Hardy.

Hugh Cardwell was a Don at Radley from 1956-1971; David Hardy from 1963-1997. Both are remembered as vibrant teachers of science, with a buoyant enthusiasm for the Natural History Society and for the environs of the College. Hugh Cardwell was an expert on oak trees which resulted in the replanting of Cheesers with oak seedlings taken from the College Oak, nurtured in the Biology greenhouses by Richard Pollard, alongside examples of oak species gathered by Radleians from around the world. A list of Italian oak species in his handwriting still rests inside the book on peonies.

David Hardy’s passion, among many other interests, is peony growing. Together, Cardwell and Hardy set about establishing a peony collection in the garden at 2, The Shrubbery, which could almost be considered the national collection. Many of the plants still survive and are currently being re-identified and propagated by Barbara Wolstenholme.

A study of the genus paeonia is the foremost guide to peony species throughout the world, published by the Royal Horticultural Society in 1946 with drawings by Stella Ross-Craig and Lillian Snelling, both regarded as among the greatest botanical illustrators of the 20th century.