Born in 1838, William Robinson was a man ahead of his time. This passionate Irish gardener and journalist came to England in 1862 to work at the Royal Botanic Society's gardens at Regent's Park where he managed the native plants collection. Robinson was a strong critic of bedding schemes, mock-Italian gardening styles and standard roses - everything the Victorians held dear.
Instead, he advocated 'wild gardening' which, in turn, evolved into the loose planting of the English cottage garden and the trend for mixed herbaceous borders. Robinson spread the word through his weekly magazine, 'Gardening', and his books, notably 'The Wild Garden' in 1870 and 'The English Flower Garden' in 1883. His gardening style initiated the first stirrings of 'right plant, right place', a concept which has been adopted by many 21st century gardeners.