The Tradescants were 17th century gardeners who introduced many new plants to England. More than 160 varieties of fruit were listed amongst the inventory of plants grown at the Tradescants nursery in Lambeth, many of which are illustrated in the Orchard. The Garden Museum invited 40 of the worlds leading botanical artists to paint watercolours of fruit in response to the Orchard.
Dick Smit chose the Mespilus germanica due to the arrangement of its flowers and its peculiar fruit. He was also drawn to the old history of the shrub. It originated in Southwest Asia and was discovered by the Romans in the 9th century and spread through West and Middle Europe. Because of its shape and unusual appearance, it is very interesting to follow the growth of the Medlar from small flower bud into a strange fruit which is edible in late autumn. Since 2005 he has been a member of the Dutch Society of Botanical Arts and a member of the Board.