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Poet-horticulturist "Fruit Tree" Ramsey dies


On this day in 1932, poet-horticulturist Frank Taylor Ramsey died in Austin. Ramsey, born in Burnet County in 1861, became his father's partner in the nursery business at the age of sixteen. By horseback and buckboard he scouted all Texas for native flora and introduced many choice wildings to cultivation. In 1894 the Ramseys moved their nursery to Austin, and Ramsey took over the business after his father's death in 1895. His establishment, the Austin Nursery, was a prominent and successful business throughout the early 1900s, at one time covering 430 acres. Ramsey, nicknamed "Fruit Tree" from his initials, discovered or originated and introduced several domestic fruit varieties, including the Breck nectarine, the Leona peach, the Haupt berry, the Ramsey fig, a seedless persimmon, and the cluster apricot. He also developed several varieties of pecans, bred a Ramsey hybrid shrub, and introduced the Chinese jujube tree into the area. Ramsey contributed articles on horticulture to various magazines and also wrote his own verses in his nursery catalogs and produced a booklet of poetry titled 'Tis Sweeter Still and Other Poems. Ramsey Park in Austin was named for him.

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