Arthur Kilpin Bulley

Arthur Kilpin Bulley was a businesman, botantist and natural historian active in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. He was born in Cheshire, England in 1861 and educated at Marlborough College.

Bulley entered the family business of cotton brokerage in Liverpool, England in the late-19th century and retired in 1922. In 1898, he began making a garden at nearby Ness, which he opened to the public.

In the early-20th century, Bulley started a commercial nursery, which later developed into a plant and seed company, Bees Limited, in part of his garden, and, in 1912, he took on John Hope, a foreman of the Edinburgh Botanic Garden, Scotland as head gardener.

Interested particularly in the cultivation and preservation of rare plants from the Far East, Bulley employed several plant collectors, such as George Forrest, Francis Kingdom Ward, and R.E. Cooper, to obtain them for him. Under his patronage, Forrest and Ward were sent to Western China and Cooper to Sukim and Bhutan.

Bulley died in 1942. Six years later, his house and garden at Ness were given to Liverpool University as a Botanic Garden. It was endowed by his daughter, Miss A.L. Bulley, under the condition that the the public would have continued access. The botanical gardens are still open today, renamed in 1950, as Ness Gardens.

Sources:

Hadfield, Miles, Robert Harling and Leonine Highton, British Gardeners: A Biographical Dictionary (London: A. Zwemmer Ltd., 1980), pp. 51-52.

University of Liverpool, 'A History of Ness Gardens' < http://www.liv.ac.uk/nessgardens/about/history.htm > [accessed 21 November 2008]

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