Nathaniel Wilson (1809-74)
 Scottish botanist: Wilson was a gardener at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, from 1834, at the time when the Curator, John Smith, was organising the transition of Kew from private Royal Gardens to national Botanic Gardens. Smith's efficient management, botanic knowledge and complete devotion, saved the Gardens from the threat of being abandoned. Wilson performed a somewhat similar function in relation to the Botanical Garden at Bath, in St Thomas, between 1846 and 1867.
 Bath, St Thomas, c 1835
 Nathaniel Wilson retired in 1867, and became a pen-owner in Vere, of a property called Spring Plain, where he bred cattle and cut logwood until his death in 1874.

Although I have found absolutely no mention of 'Fern Gully' or the 'Gully Road' in connection with Nathaniel Wilson, his years in Jamaica coincide exactly with the three decades in which the 'Gully Road', the 'gloomy and lonely avenue' of Waddell's time, became for Marianne North 'the very ferniest gully' she had ever seen. Ken Ingram has written of Wilson's letters that 'Ferns engaged his frequent attention', and it is clear from John Smith's comments in 1866 that Wilson had an extensive knowledge of Jamaica's ferns, across the island.

Was Wilson, perhaps, the 'superintendent of Public Gardens' Olive Senior mentions, but planting ferns two or three decades earlier than the 1880s? It would be interesting to be able to settle this little mystery: can anyone help?
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Curtis's Botanical Magazine
By William Jackson Hooker, David Prain, Otto Stapf, Royal Horticultural Society (Great Britain), Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Bentham-Moxon Trust, Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust
Published by Reeve Brothers, 1848

 'The Bath Botanic Garden Jamaica
It will gratify our readers, we are sure, to know that the Botanic Garden of Bath, 
Jamaica, once a flourishing spot under the Directorship of Dr Me Fadyen, then abandoned, or nearly so, for want of funds, has again revived under the charge 
of Mr Nathaniel Wilson. . . .'
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by William Jackson Hooker, 1855

MR NATHANIEL WILSON on the useful Vegetable Products especially the Fibres of JAMAICA: We have heard rumours, but we trust they are without foundation, of the want of Government support to the Botanic Garden in Jamaica; and that Mr N Wilson, its active and very intelligent Superintendent, has left, or is on the point of leaving, the colony altogether. . . .
We believe the latest duties performed by Mr Wilson in the island were to draw up a Report on the progress and usefulness of the Botanic Garden of Bath, St Thomas the Apostle, for the past year, 1854, for the information of the Honourable the Board of Directors, and to prepare a full series of the Fibres etc for the Paris Exhibition.
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Jamaica Almanac 1857 BATH OF ST. THOMAS THE APOSTLE (IN ST. THOMAS IN THE EAST) Physician: William Forsyth Henderson, M.D. Botanist and Curator of the Gardens: Nathaniel Wilson Clerk: Ambrose Carter The Botanic Garden at Bath is one of the best in the West Indies. The present Curator is a gentleman well qualified for the situation, and has devoted himself to the improvement of the Gardens with an earnestness of purpose, skill and assiduity, seldom manifested in Jamaica. 
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 Ferns: British & Foreign The History, Organography, Classification, and Enumeration of the Species of Garden Ferns with a Treatise on Their Cultivation, Etc. Etc 
By John Smith, 1866
                            Cyathea arborea
Turning next to the West Indies, we commence with the island of Jamaica, whence more Ferns have been received at Kew than from any other part of the Western hemisphere. The person to whose energy and perseverance this is mainly due is Mr Nathaniel Wilson, the Island botanist and Director of the Botanic Garden. He has been a resident in the island for upwards of twenty years, and during that time has thoroughly explored the Blue Mountains, and other districts rich in Ferns, liberally forwarding to Kew the results of his numerous journeys. 
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Among his earliest contributions was the beautiful Tree fern, Cyathea arborea, which, though recorded in the "Hortus Kewensis" as having been brought home by Admiral Bligh in 1793, had long been lost to our gardens. 
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Within the last few years he has succeeded, after many failures, in transmitting numerous species of Trichomanes and Hymenophyllum, which now form so conspicuous a feature in the present rich collection.
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