Most gardens have aof some kind, or at least a few alpine plants. Rock gardening and the cultivation of alpines are relatively new interests, but at the end of the 18th century the now popular flowers of the European Alps were almost unknown.
But in 1775 two ‘curious gardeners’ (a name given in the 16th century to those gardeners who were of an inquiring and experimental turn of mind), Dr. Fothergill and Dr. Pitcairn,engaged the former’s gardener, Thomas Blaikie — another Scot — ‘to undertake a journey to the Alps in Switzerland in search of rare and curious plants, the product of that country’.
From this trip Blaikie sent home some 110 packets of plants, seeds and specimens. The two doctors acquired considerable fame for this first collection of alpine plants, although they failed to give any credit to Blaikie.