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Fw: Alan Bloom Dies Aged 98

Hi - just received this on another list.  thought some of you might be

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Graham Rice" <garden@tiscali.co.uk>
To: <perennials@hort.net>
Sent: Friday, April 01, 2005 7:03 AM
Subject: Alan Bloom Dies Aged 98

Alan Bloom, one of the most importaant people in the development of
perennials, died this week. He introduced an astonishing number of
new plants, documented in his book, Alan Bloom's Hardy Perennials
(Croom Helm, 1991), and his style of gardening using island beds
changed the way we grew perennials. I've just received this obituary
from Adrian Bloom.

Graham Rice


Alan Bloom, the founder of a famous nursery and steam museum at
Bressingham in Norfolk has died aged 98 at his home Bressingham Hall.

Creator of the six acre Dell garden at Bressingham where he pioneered
the use of hardy perennials in Island Beds in the mid 1950s, he
was also responsible for breeding and introducing a wide range of
nearly 200 varieties of perennials, amongst the most famous are
Crocosmia Lucifer, Astilbe Sprite, Achillea Moonshine, Geranium
Ballerina and Phlox Franz Schubert. The Dell garden eventually
containing over 5000 species and varieties of perennials from all
over the world was developed between 1953 and 1962. From 1962 his
energies were put toward a completely different pastime, collecting
old steam traction engines and locomotives, then being put on the
scrap heaps of Britain. With a team of paid and volunteer helpers
this was the beginning of what was to become The Bressingham Steam
Museum, one of the largest live Steam attractions in Britain.
Opening in the early 1960s the garden and Steam Museum became a
unique visitor attraction, and though much enlarged, still runs
today. Alan Bloom wrote many books  on plants and particularly
perennials, steam, autobiography and even tried his hand at novels,
in all around 30 books.

When he left school in Cambridge he worked on other nurseries in
England before returning to help his father Charles Bloom on his
nursery in Oakington, Cambridgeshire before starting his own business
in the same village in 1926. The nursery was primarily wholesale, and
Blooms Nurseries became one of the largest of its kind in England by
the outbreak of war in 1939. During this period he put the plant
business into mothballs, and bought a farm in Burwell adjacent to
Wicken Fen. As his contribution to the war effort Alan cleared the
Fen for food crops, his achievement recognised by a visit to the farm
from King George the Sixth
and Queen Elizabeth

Returning to his occupation as nurseryman, Alan Bloom sold both
Burwell and Oakington and moved to Bressingham in Norfolk with his
young family in 1946, to establish a nursery in this quiet south
Norfolk village. Fulfilling a long felt desire to be a pioneer he
needed little encouragement to move his family to Canada in 1948.
Later he was to say it was the biggest mistake in his life. Moves to
Vancouver Island and then Ontario were not a success, and he had to
return to rescue the failing nursery left behind under the
responsibility of a manager. Alan rebuilt the nursery and by 1955 it
became one of the largest perennial nurseries in Europe, during a
time when perennials were far less popular than today. He was also
joint founder of the Hardy plant society and first chairman.

Alan was joined in the nursery and farm business by his sons Adrian
and Robert in 1962, and from 1970 took an ever decreasing role,
spending his time with his steam interest and propagating his beloved
perennials. Alan wrote his first book on perennials in 1957, often
appearing with Percy Thrower, Britain's first TV Gardener. He was
awarded both The Victoria Medal of Honour (V.M.H.) and the Veitch
Memorial Medal (V.M.M.) by the Royal Horticultural Society and an

Alan Herbert Vauser Bloom born 19th November 1906 Over,
Cambridgeshire. Married twice, to Doris Heavens in 1931 and Flora
Mackintosh in 1956. He had six children, eight grandchildren and two
great grandchildren.

Alan Bloom was a Quaker and there will be a private service. A
celebration of his life will be held on 21st June 2005 at
Bressingham. Details by early May from tel. no: 01379 686900 or 01379

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