Personalities such as Georgia O'Keeffe, Albert Schweitzer and Frida Kahlo, among many others, not only make my bedside literature, but I turn to them continuously when daily obstacles lead to stagnation and doubts. While randomly going through a bookstore I ‘discovered’ Marianne North. The book The trip to Brazil of Marianne North, 1872-1873 written by Julio Bandeira is just a must have for those who thrive for everything flower related.
Marianne North was born in England on October 24, 1830. When she was 25 -year-old North decided she would never marry or have children, becoming the 'lady ' maiden of Hastings. After her father's death, she began long periods of travel imbued by her passion for botany. Thus, she crossed eight times the Atlantic and twice the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. Marianne North met many famous figures, including Charles Darwin. Reportedly he encouraged her to visit Africa and Oceania in order to count on greater variety of species she portrayed.
North (or Pop), as she was known due to her restless spirit, traveled over fourteen years successively visiting South America, Asia, India, Japan, Oceania, Tasmania and New Zealand. According to Pop, "I had a long cherished dream of leaving for some tropical country and paint their peculiar vegetation amid abundant and lush nature." However, the length of the trip was shortened due to physical impairments that made her give up the last stretch to Mexico and return to England. Back in her home country she created a gallery and later in life dedicated herself to her garden, "I found the perfect place for what I wanted with my garden becoming famous among those who love plants (..) No life is as charming as that in the English countryside, and no flower is softer or more lovely than the primroses, bluebells and violets, all growing in abundance around me ".
Marianne North died at age 59 on August 30, 1890.