Robert Younger

Bob Younger and John Gilmour Garden Superintendent 1947 – 1974
Bob Younger joined the Botanic Garden as a young trainee.  During his twenty-eight year career in the Garden, Bob Younger worked with three directors – Humphrey Gilbert-Carter (1921 – 1950), John Gilmour (1951 – 1973) and Dr Max Walters (1973 – 1984).

Previously Bob had been Gardener at Levens Hall, home of the Bagot family in Westmoreland, Cumbria.

(Above) Bob Younger, Garden Superintendent (left) with John Gilmour (seated right) Director of the Botanic Garden (1951 – 1973) in a staff photograph from 1959.

The long-lasting working partnership between John Gilmour (1951 – 1973) and Bob Younger in the early 1950s saw the development of the eastern section of the Botanic Garden.  The eastern section had been previously used as vegetable allotments and the task of preparing the groundwork of this ‘new area’ was a formidable one that would take several years to complete.

By 1956, the new area was ready for planting.  One of the first tasks was to create new paths through the Garden, so that they would be accessible to visitors and gardeners. Bob Younger employed an unusual method of path marking.  He would drive around the new area in his vehicle in curving sweeps, allowing the tyres to mark out the shape of the paths.

Once the ground-work for the new area had been completed, John Gilmour and Bob Younger embarked on a new challenge.  John Gilmour wanted to create a new Limestone Rock Garden next to the lake.  With man-power and a pulley it took four years to complete.  Today, the Limestone Rock Garden is a popular planting with visitors.

Garden Displays
1951 – 1953  Development on the Eastern Garden begins with allotment clearing
1951 – 1973  Tertiary Trees planted
1954 – 1957  Limestone Rock Garden
1958             The Chronological Bed
1960             The Scented Garden
1962             Limestone Ecological Mound
1967             David Mellor Lily Fountain installed

The idea behind the David Mellor Lily Fountain commission was to create an impressive feature and focal point at the eastern end of the Main Walk in the original 1846 section of the Botanic Garden. This elegant water-lily design was produced by the renowned silversmith, David Mellor (1930 – 2009).  Seven giant bronze water-lily leaves create the focus at the centre of the fountain.  The columns of water emerging from the centre of each lily were to echoed the Giant Redwood trees Sequoidendron at the western and eastern ends of the walk.

One of the concerns about the fountain when it was first installed was whether ducks would be able to land on the water.  The concerns proved to be without basis and ducks happily swim in the fountain, making a living addition to this attractive feature.

Humphrey Gilbert-Carter(From left) John Gilmour (Director 1951 – 1973), Peter Yeo (Taxonomist) and Bob Younger (Garden Superintendent 1947 – 1974) surveying the Botanic Garden on a damp day.