This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Mr. Thos. Andrew Knight suggested it. It was founded - its first meeting - March 7th, 1804. April 2, 1805, Mr. Knight read the first paper, followed by one May 7th, by Sir Joseph Banks, on the introduction of the potato. It was chartered April 7th, 1809, with Earl of Dartmouth, President. In 1811 Mr. Knight became President, which he held till his death, in 1838. The published transactions commenced in 1812. In 1815 it commenced the practice of sending plant-collectors abroad by sending Reeves to China. He sent the first Wistaria Chinensis, Spiraea Reevesia, and other things. Mr. Geo. Don was sent to the west coast of Africa; David Douglas to North America, and McRae to the Sandwich Islands. In 1840 Hartweg was sent to Gautemela, and, 1842, Fortune to China. After Mr. Knight's death, the Duke of Devonshire became President in 1838, dying in 1858, and succeeded by Prince Albert, since whose death the Society has declined, till now it is becoming a question whether it has not fulfilled its mission.
It has done an immense work in making horticulture what it is in England. It made the splendid horticultural press of that country a necessity, and now the very existence of that press enables the horticulturist to do without the society.