Samuel Curtis – horticulturalist

In 1801, Curtis purchased the first of his nurseries at Walworth, and he began to publish a series of horticultural lectures that had been given by his father-in-law; William Curtis. The nursery and the book were a success, and he looked for another garden to develop. This he found at Glazenwood, near Braintree in Essex.

During the 1830’s, Curtis began looking for a suitable site on which to grow the subtropical species that were being grown under glass at Glazenwood and Kew. Over the next few years, Samuel Curtis searched the British Isles fruitlessly for a suitable site; that is until he arrived at Rozel in Jersey, in 1841. Here was a sunny, sheltered, almost frost-free valley, with a conglomerate soil and its own microclimate, ideal for the subtropical plants that he hoped to grow.

Curtis didn’t move to La Chaire permanently until 1852. Over the following eight years, he continued to develop what became known as the Tropical Garden of La Chaire. In this garden, Samuel Curtis grew arguably the biggest range of subtropical plants ever found in a garden in the British Isles.

Samuel Curtis died on January 6 1860, and he is buried in the churchyard of St.Martin’s Parish Church.

© Arthur Lamy

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