I was interested to read in last week’s Salisbury Journal that a new shop, ‘Captive Worlds’ has opened in Crane Street specialising in aquariums, terrariums and assorted aquatic plants, rocks and heating accessories etc.

Being a keen horticulturalist myself I certainly wish this new venture the best of luck.

It is also interesting to note that another most attractive florist once stood in Crane Street (now Café Diwali) and was managed by a local husband and wife partnership.

Taking pride of place in this shop was a painting of Sir Joseph Banks, eminent botanist and naturalist of the 18th century, who financed a number of sea voyages, and who himself accompanied Captain Cook on his round-the-world expedition.

Sir Joseph was an ancestor of Daphne Pearson, who with her husband, Col William Pearson, ran the Manor House Flower Parlour in Crane Street during the 1960s – the couple had originally managed their floral decoration business from the Manor House, Durrington.

Indeed, the gap was considerable between the days of the famous mutiny on the ‘Bounty’ and the search for exotic and bread-fruit plants – in the shop could be seen plants which were direct descendants of those brought back from the Pacific Islands.

The attractive premises in Crane Street blossomed forth from two derelict cottages and the couple soon made rapid strides in their business, aspiring to carrying out regular decorations at Longleat and Stourhead’s stately homes.

Another feature was a range of flower perfumes (which featured on television), especially made for the firm, and bottled on the premises.

At the rear of the shop Mr and Mrs Pearson created a wonderful garden, full of rockery plants and interesting shrubs although I am unable to say if their plans to include an Elizabethan herb garden ever came to fruition.

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