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© 2008 Paul Barlow

Celebrating the 150th anniversary of world champion chrysanthemum breeder and Malvern gardens’ curator – Thomas Pockett OBE 

Repoduction of text and pictures with kind permission from David Pockett, great grandson of Thomas W Pockett (March 2008).

Exhibition Gallery
(Picture courtesy of City of Stonnington)

The City of Stonnington is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Pockett (1857 – 1952), world famous chrysanthemum breeder and Malvern Shire Council gardens’ curator for 31 years. 

Stonnington Mayor, Cr John Chandler said the 150th anniversary was an ideal opportunity to celebrate and pay tribute to the man responsible for the design and creation of two of Stonnington’s renowned heritage gardens Central Park (Malvern East) and Malvern Gardens (Malvern). 

Pockett designed Malvern’s first public gardens (Malvern Gardens) with serpentine paths and no straight lines or formal angular beds. His design also included a fishpond with artistic grotto work and fountain. Pockett designed Central Park as a conventional nineteenth century town square design of crossed diagonal paths, with avenue trees, shrubs and flowerbeds. 

Cr Chandler said, “In 1888 Malvern Shire Council had the foresight to appoint as gardens’ curator the highly regarded Thomas Pockett who also had a passion for breeding and growing chrysanthemums. Pockett spent more than 70 years breeding and growing chrysanthemums. 

“With the help of family he raised between three and five thousand seedlings each year. He would then name and release approximately a dozen each year. Many of the blooms were named after members of the Pockett family and many local identities including Harold Holt, Lady Brookes, Mrs David Syme, Lady Carmichael and Dame Nellie Melba. Varieties raised by Pockett were grown all over the world and his blooms were sold internationally and his chrysanthemums still feature prominently on Mothers Day each year. 

“Thomas Pockett’s other long-standing legacy that Stonnington residents and visitors are still enjoying today is the many kilometres of street trees planted throughout the municipality. Stonnington’s beautiful tree lined streets are much envied throughout Melbourne and thanks to the foresight of Thomas Pockett we continue to enjoy these plantings,” said Cr Chandler. 

In 1945, Thomas Pockett was awarded the OBE for services to horticulture and his world-wide success with chrysanthemums. The same year he was awarded a Life Governor’s certificate by the Malvern horticultural Society of which he was a foundation member. 

There are five generations of Pockett horticulturists including Thomas Pockett’s great grandson James Orange who is a currently a horticulturist consultant. 

Free Photographic and memorabilia exhibition: Stonnington City Centre (Malvern Town Hall) Service Centre 26 February – 9 March 2007 8.30am – 5pm 

Photo opportunities available with Thomas Pockett’s great grandson

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Last updated on 25 March, 2008


Photographic extracts from the Anniversary Exhibition




More pictures in thumbnail form
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Visitors enjoying the Exhibition
(Picture courtesy of City of Stonnington)

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Photo display