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Henry Teuscher

Henry Teuscher with Brother Marie-Victorin in Greenhouse A-1, 1936.
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Archives)
Henry Teuscher with Brother Marie-Victorin in Greenhouse A-1, 1936.

Originally a gardener at Berlin’s Botanical Garden, Henry Teuscher gained a reputation as a stellar horticulturalist and landscape architect. This German immigrant to the United States held a number of positions in his field, including dendrologist (specialist in the study of trees) at the New-York Botanical Garden.

In the 1930s, he began a long and fruitful correspondence with Brother Marie-Victorin, who entrusted him with his project. Teuscher began imagining an ideal botanical garden, as he had already done in his master’s studies. Despite the distance and political issues that delayed the project, both men shared the same enthusiasm.

Designing the Jardin botanique

A man of many talents, Mr Teuscher drew up the first plan of the Garden. In 1936, he was officially appointed Superintendent and Chief Horticulturalist. He also laid out several of the exhibition greenhouses and assembled some of the Garden's major plant collections. A true visionary, Teuscher had planned in the 1930s to create an Asian Garden and a First Nations garden!

The war years were difficult for Teuscher. Wrongly accused of being a spy for the Nazis, he was declared innocent, but the “Teuscher Affair” was in the headlines for sometime. He remained curator of the Garden, attended the opening of the exhibition greenhouses, which were an important part of his initial plans, in 1956. He finally retired in 1962, and died in Toronto in 1984 at the age of 93 years.

Since 1999, Henry Teuscher Award of the Jardin botanique has recognized the excellence of an individual's achievements in the advancement of horticulture in Québec.

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