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'A daughter of the Empire': Beryl White In India 1901-03

The Residency garden

Lilies in the Gangtok gardenLilies in the Gangtok gardenThe Whites also shared the English passion for gardens and gardening. John Claude White recounts that the Residency garden was ‘a great joy and an everlasting source of amusement and employment’ to himself and his wife.

He comments on the beautiful green lawns they enjoyed even in winter, the profusion of early spring bloom ‘seldom seen in England,’ the delicate mauve of the abundant wisteria on the house and the wealth of roses that ‘flowered in such profusion, thousands of blooms could be gathered without making the smallest impression.’

He reports how his office was covered in roses and was an outstanding sight:

‘Perhaps the most beautiful sight was my office, a building a few hundred yards from the house, which was completely covered, roof and chimney included, with roses, and was a sight worth coming miles to see.’

Raj Bhavan or ResidencyRaj Bhavan or ResidencyWhite published a surprisingly detailed and long list of plants found in his gardens as part of his account of working life in Sikkim.

He also includes an image of ‘Wallichianum Lillies’ found in the Residency garden, and a nearly identical image can be found in Beryl’s album.

As her grand daughter informs us, Beryl shared her parents’ passion for gardening.

Perceval Landon also describes the appeal of the Residency garden:

‘Double Residency gates open and shut behind one...through the tree ferns and the dying bamboos of the drive one emerges into the English roses and clean short turf of Mrs Claude White’s home-made Paradise.’

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