Henry Patmore, urban forester
One hundred years ago, Henry L. Patmore, later Alderman Patmore, embarked on a personal crusade to beautify Brandon by promoting the planting of trees along the boulevards.
In later years, the shady tree-clad streets encouraged the image that Brandon was “undoubtedly the most beautiful in the Canadian Northwest. ” – Brandon: A Residential Walking Tour
Henry Lewis Patmore was introduced to the business of growing things on his family’s farm in England.
His parents grew nursery stock and cut flowers for the London Market.
Young Henry was selling their produce at Covent Garden when he first learned of the rich loam around what early journals called ‘Brandon House’ in far-off Manitoba.
Upon his arrival in Brandon he became assistant to Dr. S. A. Bedford in the development of western Canada’s first experimental farm.
He then began a nursery in partnership with J. A. Brock, but when Brock moved to California, Patmore became the sole proprietor.
His timing was fortuitous. The arrival of the CPR opened the way for hundreds of thousands of settlers.
And they wanted trees – for fruit, for shade, and to protect their homes.
H. L. Patmore could provide a complete range from ornamentals to hedgerows.
In 1890 he published his first catalogue, and by 1913 was shipping across the country.
Patmore’s nursery and grove at one time covered 400 acres, with 60,000 square feet of greenhouses and more than 100 employees.
Even in those early days he was able to move mature trees for landscaping purposes, by means of a “tree plough,” which he designed, and the help of ten men and twenty horses.
In 1930 H. L. Patmore was joined in business by his son, Richard Henry. Following H. L.’ s death in 1947, he took over the business.
Dick became a plant breeder, specializing, with great success, in the introduction of hardihood into imported specimens.
Dick Patmore died in 1979, but each year tens of thousands of specimens of Patmore’s Ash are sold across western Canada as boulevard shade trees.
Both Patmores served for years on the Brandon parks board, and it is due to their combined efforts that the city’s streets and avenues are lined with shade trees.
– The Wheat City: A Pictorial History of Brandon by Fred McGuinness
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