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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Hutton Balfour   15 September [1864]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Sept 15th

My dear Sir

Will you have the kindness to grant me a little favour, namely to tell me what nurseryman near Edinburgh, I had better apply to for coloured Primroses & Cowslips. I have heard that they are a good deal cultivated there & I cannot hear of them near London.— I wish to try again some of John Scotts remarkable experiments, which he tried on the coloured Primroses in your Bot. Garden.—2

John Scott has sailed for India; he came here to see me, & expressed himself warmly on your kindness to him.—3

My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the reference to John Scott’s sailing for India and his visit to Down (see n. 3, below).
CD refers to Scott’s experiments on the Primulaceae at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, where he worked as foreman of the propagating department; Scott published the results of these experiments in Scott 1864a. On CD’s interest in the experiments on coloured primroses and cowslips, see the letter to Asa Gray, 13 September [1864] and nn. 11, 13, and 14, and letter to J. D. Hooker, 13 September [1864].
Scott probably visited CD at Down on 18 August before sailing for India on 26 August 1864 (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [15 August 1864], and letters to J. D. Hooker, [16 August 1864] and n. 2, and [23 August 1864]).


Inquires which nurserymen near Edinburgh cultivate coloured primroses and cowslips. Wants to repeat John Scott’s remarkable experiments.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Hutton Balfour
Sent from
Source of text
Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh (Balfour papers)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4613,” accessed on 29 February 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12