Xmera / Garden History / Nurseries: J. D. Wheeler

J. D. Wheeler of Gloucester

His father's hope that James Daniel Wheeler would take over the Hare Lane nursery from his mother was realized. His brother Charles also followed a career in horticulture, while another brother William became a wine merchant. In the spring of 1817 the house and nursery in Hare Lane occupied by James Daniel and his mother were put up for sale. This enabled James Daniel to buy out his mother's interest in the business and set up on his own account. In April he married Dinah Fowler at Hasfield.

Where his grandfather and uncle had expanded by taking over an existing nursery in Kingsholm, James Daniel leased some five acres of pasture known as the Great Ground bordering the Sudbrook south of the city centre and converted it to a nursery. He also occupied several parcels of land near the Outer Northgate.

In 1828 a new horticultural society was set up in Gloucester, attracting a 'splendid assemblage of company, which comprised all the beauty and fashion of the neighbourhood'. Its regular shows provided a competitive forum for the two rival Wheeler nurseries, which both concentrated on exhibiting showy and unusual plants that would attract the attention of their potential customers among the members of the horticultural society. The shows were held in the National School in London Road, within a short stroll of both cousins' nurersies in Alvin Street. For the few years that they lasted the shows provided a useful showcase for both nurseries. Their importance as a marketing opportunity is indicated by James Daniel's decision to hold two shows of his own in 1836, when the horticultural society folded. The two cousins also entered other local shows, with James Daniel sponsoring a prize for amateur growers at the Cheltenham horticultural society.

In 1850 the nursery James Daniel had established east of the cattle market and north of what is now Station Road was acquired by the same railway company for the construction of a station. His premises in Alvin Street was offered for sale at the sme time. Although he still described himself as a nurseryman and seedsman for the 1851 census, when he and Dinah were living with their three children in London Road, the arrival of the railway effectively finished off James Daniel's nursery business. In 1853 he was listed as an insolvent debtor and the Alvin Street nusery was sold. He died in 1863. Rather than a career in horticulture, his son James Daniel followed his uncle in becoming a wine merchant.