The Story of the Ernest Wilson Memorial Garden
In memory of Ernest Wilson, who gave us all many plants in our gardens.
You will find the Ernest Wilson Memorial Garden at the north end of Chipping Campden High Street. The Garden was originally part of the Old Vicarage Garden, so the Tower of St. James’s Church overlooks the garden adding to its beauty. Ernest Wilson, or “Chinese” as he was later referred to, was born in Chipping Campden on 15th February 1876. His family moved to Birmingham, where he grew up and eventually went to work in Birmingham Botanic Gardens. In 1897 he moved to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. It was here that the famous nurseryman James Veitch and Sons asked if he would like to go plant hunting in China. This was the start of his many trips, not only to China but to Japan, Korea, Formosa and Taiwan.
Over his many trips he discovered and brought back over 1,200 different plants including the ever popular Handkerchief Tree (Davidia Involucrata). Tragically, he and his wife were killed in a motor accident in 1950. At the time Wilson was working for the Arnold Arboretum in Boston America, The garden was started in 1980 with donations raised locally and many of the plants were given by Nurseries and private Garden Lovers. It was eventually opened in May 1984 by the well known Horticulturist Roy Lancaster V.M.M. It is open to the Public every day, free of charge but there is a collecting box in the Wall if Visitors would like to contribute towards the upkeep of the Garden.
We hope that you enjoy your visit to the Garden in Memory of Ernest Wilson, who gave us all so many plants in our gardens today.