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2017: Dr Luke Keogh

Scholarly article and book: Garden state: The Wardian case, Victoria and the global nursery trade

The Wardian case was a simple portable greenhouse used for moving live plants. Invented in 1829 by the London doctor Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward, the case revolutionised the movement of plants around the globe. Following its invention, many important economic and ornamental plants could be moved to locations well beyond their home range.

With its long history of gardening and horticulture, Victoria offers a fascinating case study in understanding how the dynamics of the global nursery trade operated at the colonial periphery in the 19th century. Among the many people who benefitted from the transport of exotic plants was Redmond Barry, who was an avid promoter of horticulture and served as the vice-president of the Victorian Horticultural Society.

Focusing on the Wardian case, Luke's project contextualised the Victorian exotic nursery trade within the global network of moving live plants, resulting in a scholarly article and a chapter in his forthcoming book.

Dr Luke Keogh holds a PhD in History, BSc Resource and Environmental Management (with first-class honours), Griffith University, and a Bachelor of Science (Resource and Environmental Management), ANU. The recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, he is a prolific author and most recently was a visiting scholar at the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University.

Luke Keogh's book The Wardian case: how a simple box moved plants and changed the world is available at The University of Chicago Press.