The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
III 2892 to c.III 29611 (1292 - c.1361 by the Shire-reckoning, lived at least 69 years)
'Holman' means 'hole man'; 'Greenhand' comes from gardening tradition of the family


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  • Updated 10 February 2002
  • Updates planned: 2

Holman Greenhand

One of a long line of Hobbiton gardeners

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The Greenhands were descended from Holman the greenhanded, and Holman's namesake and grandson, Holman Greenhand, was at least the third of the line to tend the gardens of Hobbiton. Holman was the gardener at Bag End for Bilbo Baggins, and perhaps also for his father Bungo. In about the year III 2941, he took on his young relation Hamfast Gamgee as an apprentice. Hamfast eventually became the gardener at Bag End himself, and was followed by his son Samwise.

In a curious and unlikely way, Holman was instrumental in the winning of the War of the Ring. One morning in the spring of III 2941, Bag End was visited by the Wizard Gandalf. Bilbo was away from home for the Elves' New Year, so Gandalf struck up a conversation with Holman. It was Holman's description of his employer that encouraged Gandalf to include Bilbo in the journey to the Lonely Mountain, which in turn led to the finding of the One Ring, the means through which Sauron was ultimately defeated. If not for the part of Holman Greenhand, then, the western lands might well have fallen under the yoke of the Dark Lord.



The Longfather-tree of MasterSamwise in Appendix C to The Lord of the Rings, shows us Holman's date of birth, but isn't specific about his lifespan. There's a strong clue in the text of The Fellowship of the Ring, though, where we're told that Holman's successor, Hamfast Gamgee, had 'tended the garden at Bag End for forty years, and had helped old Holman in the same job before that.' (I 1 A Long-expected Party). This text refers to the year of Bilbo's Birthday Party, III 3001, so we know that Holman stopped gardening at Bag End forty years earlier, in III 2961, when he would have been sixty-nine years old. It's quite possible that he merely retired in that year, and lived on for a few years more, but III 2961 is the last specific date we hear of him.

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