skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From T. H. Farrer   16 June 1872

Abinger Hall, | Reigate. (Post Town) | Gomshall (Station) S.E.R.

16. June/72

My dear Mr Darwin

A practical, not scientific request. Mr Wedgwood tells me you have at Down some good “Forget me nots”—dissitiflora, I imagine.1 We have been unable to get them. Could your gardener give me some seed?

Hope also mentioned a fine anemone, the name I forget, which Miss Wedgwood had in her garden in plenty—2 I am a glutton for those things & go about picking & stealing.

There is a curious result of change of circumstances on a plant, which I have noticed here this year. There were some five hollies growing under high trees. I have cut down several of the trees & the hollies are exposed to the sun. & sky. Last year they fruited to an extraordinary extent, and the berries have made them look like red pyramids quite into summer— But they have exhausted themselves and are I fear dying from their exertions.

The same thing has happened to some boxes which I moved out of shade into sunshine, but to a better soil. The curious thing with them is that they grew well the first year and only this year have flowered themselves to death, the flowers appearing on every part of stem & branches

The Wedgwoods will I trust establish themselves here near us. It will be very pleasant to have them as neighbours—on many accounts—for myself & my daughter— And Effies songs reconcile me to the piano again3

Sincerely yours | T H Farrer


Josiah Wedgwood III lived at Leith Hill Place, Dorking, Surrey, close to Abinger Hall (Freeman 1978). Myosotis dissitiflora is the early forget-me-not; CD had recorded experiments with cultivated Myosotis in Variation 2: 128.
Emma Darwin’s sister, Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood, was a neighbour of the Darwins in Down; Hope Elizabeth Wedgwood was one of their nieces.
Katherine Euphemia Wedgwood (Effie), Hope Wedgwood’s sister, was noted for her singing; in the summer of 1872 their parents, Hensleigh and Frances Emma Elizabeth Wedgwood, were contemplating moving out of London; they settled at Ravensbourne, Kent. Effie married Farrer as his second wife in 1873; Farrer’s daughter, Emma Cecilia Farrer (Ida), married Horace Darwin in 1880 (Wedgwood and Wedgwood 1980, pp. 298–9; 301–3; 314).


Freeman, Richard Broke. 1978. Charles Darwin: a companion. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.

Wedgwood, Barbara and Wedgwood, Hensleigh. 1980. The Wedgwood circle, 1730–1897: four generations of a family and their friends. London: Studio Vista.


Asks CD for seeds of some plants.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Henry Farrer, 1st baronet and 1st Baron Farrer
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Abinger Hall
Source of text
DAR 164: 72
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8390,” accessed on 17 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20