1945 - 1956 University
During her four and a half satisfying years in the Women’s Land Army (WLA), Mary realised that a return to the drudgery of an office job in the city was impossible if her life was to be more than mere existence.
As a former member of the WLA, she was eligible for a grant to go to university, something her family couldn’t have afforded in peacetime. Initially, she studied at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and gained a degree in agriculture.
Encouraged by her professors, she followed this up with first-class honours in botany and a doctorate in plant ecology, based on research carried out on the sea-bird islands of Pembrokeshire in south Wales. Mary then began her 35-year academic career by lecturing in Botany at Exeter University.