Scientist; Eduard August von Regel (1815-1892)
Also see hybridizer Eduard August von Regel
List of diagnoses;
Species: Iris albertii
, Iris darwasica
, Iris eulefeldii
biography in The Garden 1879
also image in Belgique Horticole
Eduard Regel was born August the 13tli, 1815, at Gotba, where his father held the post of professor and military preacher. He was educated at the Gymnasium, and was afterwards apprenticed at the Grand Ducal gardens at Gotha, attending, however, at the same time special classes instituted for languages, mathematics, and drawing. He acquired a full and thorough knowledge of Latin, which was afterwards of great help to him in many ways. Three years afterwards he entered the botanical gardens at Guttingen, then under Professor Fischer's direction. There he was permitted to attend the lectures of Professors Schrader and Bartliug. In 11^37 he went to the botanical gardens at Bonn, then under Inspector Sinning, and remained there till 1839. Bonn was then an excellent school for gardenens, the cultivation of plants being there carried on on rational principles. There he studied the local flora, and produced, in company witli Schniitz, his " Flora Bonnensis." In 1839 he entered the botanical garden at Berlin, under the direction of Otto, and there he soon had occasion to develop his literary talents in the " Gartenzeitung " of Otto and I'ietrich. One of his principal contributions to that jieriodical was a long paper on " Die Ilauptmomente der Gartnerei durch Physiologic begTiindet."To the "Proceedings of the Horticultural Society of Prussia," he contributed his "Cultivation and Description of all the Ericas then existing in German and English gardens," a work still valuable, and of which a revised edition appeared in 1843 at Zurich.
In the Berlin Botanic Garden at that time the position of the under gardeners was more independent tlian in most places, every one of them having charge of a certain department, for which he was entirely responsible. Regel took to hardy herbaceous plants. In 1842 he was appointed botanical gardener at Zurich, and was instracted to re-organise the botanical garden there. In 1843 he founded the " Schweizerische Zeitschrift fiir Garteubau," in company with Professor O. Heer, and afterwards became sole conductor of that periodical, changing it in 18.^2 to his .still existing " Gartenflora." Along with Professors 0. Heer and Naegeli, then Directors of the Zurich Botanic Givrden, he founded, in 18.")2, the Swiss Horticultural Society, of which he was elected president. He also lectured at the University, and took, in 18.0.5, the degree of doctor.
When, in 185.3, the director of the Imperial Botanic Garden at St, Petersburgh, C. A. Meyer, died, the leading authorities had the good sense to choose for that post a man who was at once a good botanist and a good gardener, a combination which Regel possessed in a high degree ; his " Gartenflora " exemplified his .skill as a botanist, and the flourishing condition of the Zurich Garden gave ample proofs that he was a good gardener. During his thirteen and a half years' stay at Zurich, he formed many connections with foreign countries, and introduced and distributed many new plants; he also devoted part of his time to experiments in hybridising, especially as regards the genus Gesnera, the result of which he afterwards published in his work " Plants and Plant-life in Relation to Practical Gardening." The Zurich Garden was not endowed with large funds, but Regel — by, in a practical way, increasing and sending out new plants, and also by frequent exchanges — very soon gained for it a prominent position amongst botanic gardens. In the same way he continues in his now much more important position to distribute liberally to European gardens the novelties which arrive in great quantities at St. Petersburgh.
When first he went to St. Petersburgh he observed many things that needed changing, but during the first few years he was, in spite of his nomination as scientific director, prevented from doing much, as every effort to do anything was dependent on the Administiation. After a time, however, he was nominated KoUegienrath
and Botanicus Priniarivs and, under Trantvetter's Administration, got freedom of action ; and when Trantvetter retired he became Director-General of the Garden. By and by he altered to advantage the arrangement of the plant collections, had the houses rebuilt, and most of them heated by hot water. As far as was possible, he placed his plants in groups, each representing a separate flora, such as that of St. Petersburgh, Siberia, Caucasus, North America, &c., and at the same time he laid out and embellished the park adjoining the botanic gardens. Innumerable plants, especially from the Central Asiatic dominions, were introduced and described by him, and most liberally distributed to all foreign botanic gardens and nurseries. He laid out the Admiralty Garden with much taste and judgment, and improved that around the statue of the Empress Catharina. He rendered also great services to Russia, in advancing, by his writings and example, the cultivation of fruits and fruit trees, and founded for this purpose a private pomological garden, and a garden for acclimatising purposes, the importance of which will be understood when it is stated that they cover about 70 hectares or about 175 acres. A difficult undertaking was the foundation of the Russian Horticultural Society in 1858, but in this he succeeded, and has been since that time its vice-president. On his recommendation, that Society ventured to hold an international exhibition in 1869, which turned out to be a brilliant success.
As to his literary works, he is the author of the " Flora of Siberia," " Turkestan," and the " Russian Dendrology." Numerous contributions to periodicals and in the form of pamphlets also attest his zeal and energy in this direction. He is a Councillor of State, with the title of Excellency, a rank which he has won entirely by his talents, perseverance, and energy. He is just and amiable in all his dealings with others, and steadfast in his friendships.