Mr. James Francois
Mr. James Francois took over the care of the Botanical Gardens from Mr. Samuel Peters in 1968. After Mr. Peters long stay as curator, the Botanical Gardens became part of the Agricultural district stretching from Montrose to Campden Park and Mr. Francois then working as an agricultural extension officer was transferred to the area. he moved with his family from Stubbs to live in the house at the bottom of The Gardens. The curator's house, at that time, was occupied by Mr. Hugh Mc Connie. James Francois served there until 1971 when he joined the Ministry of Community Development as a Community Development Officer.
During his stint at the Botanical Gardens Francois took great pride in his work, although time had to be given also to the Camden Park experimental station. During his tenure the Gardens will well be remembered for its exquisite state with well manicured and unbroken hedges. He presided over the propagation of plants both for sale and use in the gardens. He also ensured the strategic plating of additional trees and flowers within the Gardens.
Francois was supported by a team of devoted and conscientious workers who are still remembered fondly by family members. Names such as Evelyn Edwards, Rudolph Francois, Miss Maude, and a young man called Emmet who worked at the office.
In those days The Gardens was a favorite place for Sunday afternoon strolls, lovers meetings, and a retreat for students who wanted a quiet place to study. One such student was Juliette, daughter of the former Curator. The playing of games such as cricket and football was not allowed in the Gardens and those who disregarded paid the penalty of having their equipment seized.
The Francois children, three boys and one girl, ages ranging from under two to six years when they went to live at the Botanic Gardens, really enjoyed the years there. Some exploits were dangerous, like the boys daring each other to walk on the narrow bridge along the bank of the stream at the bottom of the Gardens. They also climbed many of the fruit trees to partake of nature’s goodies. His daughter was fascinated with the pretty flowers and especially attracted to the lilies in the pond where she once fell in but was quickly fished out by a worker.
Written by: James Francois' family members