Joseph Myatt was born in 1771 in Staffordshire, England. He began working as a gardener as soon as he was old enough to get a job. As the years passed, his skills and knowledge increased, and he moved up into better and better jobs. By the time he was 30, he was head gardener at a large country estate

In 1810, he moved with his wife and children to take a position as head gardener for an estate called Rosewood Park.

Around this time, there was a cultural shift in English landscape gardening, which moved away from the formal European-style to a more natural pastoral style. The owner of Rosewood Park indulged in all the lastest garden trends. Joseph Myatt gained valuable horticultural experience.

This was about the time that the middle class was born. Now everyone wanted gardens on their little plots of land, while owners of estates were on the lookout for something new. Joseph Myatt quit his gardening job and went into business growing and selling plants. He was 45 years old when he opened his market garden on the outskirts of London.

His main income came from raising fruits and vegetables, which he sold to the markets of London. His sideline was raising exotic plants. But his expertise was in propagating plants and improving their strains. New and improved varieties of onion, cabbage, and potato still carry his name today. By this time, his children were helping run the business.

He was in his 50s when he started experimenting with rhubarb, after purchasing some rootstock from a botanist who imported it from Russia. At that time it was a rare and exotic plant, considered to be for medicinal purposes only. A powder made from the red stalks of the plant was used as a laxative sold by apothecaries.

Because the stalks of the rhubarb plant are very sour, they were not considered food. But then sugar, which had previously been rare and expensive, became affordable due to the expansion of the British Empire.

When Joseph Myatt discovered that rhubarb stalks, when minced and stewed with sugar, made an excellent pie, he was ridiculed for being the person who invented “laxative pie.”

Myatt persisted. He heard about a gardener who accidentally discovered that if the rhubarb plant was completely covered with manure and kept in darkness, the resulting rhubarb stalks would be much sweeter. Myatt worked to improve rhubarb, eventually coming up with a much sweeter strain.

When he sent his sons to market with bundles of rhubarb stalk, they failed to sell well until he had the marketing idea of including a recipe with every bundle sold. Sales took off.

Now, Myatt moved to a larger farm, and began specializing in growing strawberries. Strawberries grew wild and had never been deliberately cultivated. Myatt changed that. He worked to make them large, sweet, and prolific enough to warrant commercial production. This endeavor was extremely successful, and he won a medal for his work in 1832. Myatt began selling strawberry plants to other gardeners, and the strawberry-rhubarb pie was born.

By 1861, the business called Joseph Myatt & Sons owned 120 acres and employed 37 men, 12 women, and 10 boys.

As railroads expanded, it became easier and easier to ship produce to market. A winemaker in Somerset, England, began ordering huge shipments of rhubarb to make wine. Myatt prospered and became a prominent businessman.

Joseph Myatt died at Manor Farm in 1855 at the age of 84.