- Marcus B. Simpson
Garden, Alexander ( January 1730–15 April 1791), physician and naturalist, was born in Birse, Scotland, the son of the Reverend Alexander Garden, a clergyman in the Church of Scotland. The details of Garden’s early education are not known, but from around 1743 to 1746 he was apprenticed to James Gordon, professor of medicine at Marischal College, Aberdeen. Garden studied medicine, philosophy, classics, Latin, Greek, French, and Italian at Marischal, and during this time Gordon sparked Garden’s initial interest in natural history. In 1746 Garden was qualified as a surgeon’s second mate in the British navy, but, failing to receive an appointment, he returned from London and resumed his work with Gordon until 1748. From 1748 to 1750 he was a surgeon’s first mate in the navy, serving on three ships. In 1750 he resumed his medical education at the University of Edinburgh, where he studied under John Gregory and Charles Alston. Alston was the King’s Botanist, Keeper of the Garden at Holyrood, and professor of botany and medicine at the university, and under his influence, Garden acquired a passion for botany that continued for the rest of his life. Completing his formal training, Garden was awarded the A.M. degree in 1753 from Marischal College, which also granted him the M.D. degree in 1754....