Loudon, Jane Webb (1807–1858)

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Loudon, Jane Webb (1807–1858)

British botanist and writer on horticulture. Born near Birmingham, England, in 1807; died in London, England, in 1858; daughter of Thomas Webb; married John Loudon (a landscape gardener and horticultural writer), in 1830.

Born in Birmingham, England, in 1807, Jane Webb Loudon originally turned to writing to support herself after the death of her father. Her first book, a science-fiction romance, The Mummy, a Tale of the Twenty-Second Century (1827), came to the attention of John Loudon, a landscape gardener and horticultural writer who gave it a favorable review in a journal he was then editing. Out of curiosity, Jane sought John out, and they married in 1830. From that time on, Loudon immersed herself in her husband's work, learning about plants and serving as his assistant. During a period of particular financial strain, she began to write books on popular botany, the most successful of which was The Ladies' Companion to the Flower Garden (1841). She also wrote The Young Naturalist's Journey; or, the Travels of Agnes Merton and Her Mama (1840) and Modern Botany; or, a Popular Introduction to the Natural System of Plants, According to the Classification of de Candolle, 2nd ed. (1851).