Willam Barron was a gardener, nurseryman and landscape gardener active in the 19th century. He was born on 7 September 1805 in Eccles, Berwickshire, Scotland the son of gardener, John Barron and his wife, Betty Johnston.
Note that the year of Barron's birth is usually cited as 1800 yet, according to Brent Elliot, this is an error due to a mistake made in his obituary in the Gardeners' Chronicle.
Barron began his gardening career by serving a 3 year apprenticeship at Blackadder in Berwickshire, Scotland and by then entering the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, Scotland where he was put in charge of the glasshouses. Following this he went on to Syon House in Middlesex, England where he assisted with the planting of a new conservatory.
On 1 March 1830 Barron was appointed gardener to Charles Stanhope, the fourth earl of Harrington, at Elvaston Castle in Derbyshire and instructucted to create a new garden. Barron took up his post on 2 August and became particularly concerned with the plantations of numerous species of conifer. He later married Elizabeth Ashby and together they had one child, a son, John (born 8 June 1844).
After the fourth earl's death in 1851, Barron was instructed by Leicester Stanhope, the fifth earl of Harrington, to construct a commerical nursery in the garden. In 1852 he published The British Winter Garden: A Practical Treatise on Evergreens.
In 1862, on the death of the fifth earl, Barron bought 40 acres for a nursery site in nearby Borrowash, to which he moved in 1865. By 1867 he was joined in partnership by his son.
The firm William Barron & Son gained its reputation for plant sales, landscape gardening and the transplantation of large trees and was a leading provider of public park designs.
William Barron died in Borrowash, Derbyshire, on 8 April 1891. His firm was carried on by the family.
Elliott, Brent, ‘Barron, William (1805–1891)’, rev., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) <http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/37159> [accessed 7 January 2008]
Hadfield, Miles, Robert Harling and Leonine Highton, British Gardeners: A Biographical Dictionary (London: A. Zwemmer Ltd., 1980), pp. 25-26.