Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nurseryman - Prosper Julius A Berckmans 1829-1910

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Prosper Julius A.Berckmans–(1829-1910)–Augusta, Georgia–

Berckmans was born near Brussels, Belgium in 1829. He spent his boyhood on the estates of his father, Dr. Louis Berckmans, who was a noted horticulturist. He was educated in France and when he returned home to Belgium in 1847, he spent the next three years working on his father’s estates and studying botany at the Botanical Gardens of Brussels.

In 1850 Berckmans came to the United States, and in 1851, Prosper’s father, Dr. Berckmans, brought his family and a great collection of plants to a farm in Plainfield, New Jersey. Prosper moved south in 1857, to establish the Fruitland Nurseries, near Augusta, Georgia by purchasing a half interest in the nurseries of D. Redmond. The following year he bought the other half interest and became sole owner.

Berckmans imported seeds, cuttings, and plants. In the later years he grew many different kinds of camellias and plants suited to the Georgia climate. He became a life member of the American Pomological Society in 1860, and was elected president in 1887.

He founded the Georgia State Horticultural Society in 1876 and was its president until his death in 1910. In 1883-84 he went to Europe for the U. S. government to collect horticultural exhibits for the New Orleans Exposition of 1884-1885. He was the editor of Farmer and Gardener for several years. He retired in 1907.

Information from the Smithsonian Institution Libraries research.
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