June 10, 1920 – Oct. 4, 2006
Ken passed away in Chilliwack Hospital after a short illness. Bornin Yorkshire, England, Ken and his family immigrated to Nova Scotia in 1954, later moved to Ontario, and spent the past 37 years in B.C.
During his 70 years in horticulture, Ken was renowned for his extensive plant
knowledge and expertise. He began his career in forestry, eventually working at several prominent nurseries in England, including Baker’s Nursery, home of the famous Russell lupines. While at the Plant Research Institute of Agriculture Canada, he developed the Rose Garden at the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa.
For several years, until his retirement, he was Superintendent of Operations at the UBC Botanical Garden, where a commemorative trail in the Asian Garden bears his name. Ken also taught specialized gardening courses, wrote numerous articles, gave talks illustrated with his photography, and was a frequent guest host on open-line radio.
After retiring, Ken opened a nursery specializing in perennials, and assisted in the design and development of Minter Gardens. A well-known rose expert, he contributed a section on roses to the Canadian Encyclopedia, and was a former President of the Vancouver Rose Society. He was founding President of the North American Heather Society, founded the Hope Garden Club, and was an active member of the Chilliwack Garden Club.
Plants were Ken’s life. He never stopped planting, propagating, pruning, and growing new seeds. He was always available for advice, for help in identifying an unknown plant, or to share his experience and knowledge with anyone who asked.
He is remembered through a heather variety named “Ken Wilson”, bred by his son, David.
Ken is survived by Norah, his wife of 63 years; children Susan (Roopchand), Hazel (Graham), and David (Irene); and grandchildren Marc, Craig, Chad, Tracy, and Devon (her mother Chris and brother Jesse). By request, no service will be held.