St Albans

Copy kindly provided by Mary Hilder

Frederick Sander: The Orchid King

Arthur Swinton

Hodder and Stoughton, 1970

252 pages, 8 pages of photographs, 8 pages of colour pictures of orchids, some line drawings


Sanders of St. Albans

The Mighty Orchid King

Is filling all his boxes

For shipment in the Spring


Frederick Sander, The Orchard King of St Albans, Herts

Roebelin on Mindanao, 1881: Phalenopsis sanderiana (orchid named after Frederick Sanders)

1 A Journey to the Temple

2 The Greeks Had a Word for It

3 A Voice from the Jungle

4 Miracle on Mindanao

5 The Orchid King

6 The Royal Orchid Grower

7 The March on Bruges

8 The Trough

9 The Lost Cypripedium

10 Episode in Annam

11Towards the Storm

12 Storm over Bruges

13 Ride in a Cart



Frederick Sander (the Orchid King) as a young man

Frederick Sander in his twenties

If you think of St Albans today you don't think of it being a hotbed for orchids, but when Frederick Sander came to the city it soon became world famous for the orchids that could be brought from his nursery in Camp Road.

Frederick was born in Bremen in 1847 and came to England in 1867 to work with a seed merchant. In 1876 he took over the seed business of Messrs S. Josling at 21 George Street, St Albans. The shop was too small and he acquired some land at the back for a nursery which later became covered with greenhouses. The property proved too small and in the early 1880s he acquired a suitable site in Camp Road for a house and large nursery. He employed large numbers of collectors to get new specimens of orchids from all over the world and the business rapidly expanded.

The peak of the business was around 1890 and in 1894 he decided that while to expand the business to an even larger site at Bruge although as the Victorian craze for orchids waned the market was broadened to include plants other than orchids. The Belgium site was over-run during the First World War and Frederick died in 1920. What was left of the company in England moved away from St Albans, the greenhouses being demolished  in 1953.

However it should be pointed out that most of the book concentrated to his relationship with the many orchid collectors that travelled the world collecting new species and what they discovered. There are very few details of the management of the St Albans nursery.

The house built by Frederick Sander in Camp Road, St Albans.

The house in Camp Road, St Albans

Online sources of further information on Frederick Sander

Sanders Orchids


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