People and Plants
Throughout its history the gardens has had strong contacts with the botanical garden world and with locally prominent families:
DAVID CAMERON (1831-1847)
John Claudius Loudon, the designer of the garden was instrumental in recruiting David Cameron, its first Curator. He was an excellent practical grower and was responsible for implementing Loudon’s vision. The tender Hibiscus cameronii was named after him.
WILLIAM BRADBURY LATHAM (1868-1903)
Our most distinguished Curator, was an orchid and fern specialist who had worked at Chatsworth for the Duke of Devonshire, Kew and the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. He is remembered here in our fern garden and in the sub-tropical house, where his unique hybrid tree fern Dicksonia x lathamii still grows – more than 140 years after it was bred in 1872.
ERNEST HENRY WILSON (1893-97)
Davidia involucrata (the Handkerchief tree), which grows here in the Wilson border. He will shortly be honoured with a blue plaque at the entrance to the gardens for his contribution to botany and horticulture. [Wilson, centre, in the bowler hat].
Both Joe Chamberlain and Neville Chamberlain were strong supporters of the botanical gardens and gave generously to it. Joe was an avid collector of orchids and donated many rare plants to the gardens [Paphilopedalum chamberlainianaum syn. (Cyprepidium chamberlainianum)]