Sir Francis Ronalds and his Family

Nathaniel Ronalds

Ronalds Florist business card (c. 1933)

Alfred Ronalds' third son Nathaniel (1840-1898) was a talented horticulturalist and florist with "prodigious energy". Including his large role in his father's nursery in Ballarat, he established five nurseries in Victoria. He also opened the "famous" Ronalds Florist in Melbourne's city centre. He was "cultivating bulbs on a scale without precedent", his orchid collection was "the largest in Australia", and he was "the premier rose-grower". He in addition sold over 800 bouquets a month, many made by his nieces including Henrietta Gulliver. He named new cultivars he raised of various species after family and friends as well as using the botanical Latin name ronaldsii.

Nathaniel married three times and had six children and a stepson. Aided by his widow Agnes Lindsay née Small (1861-1945) and their descendants, the Ronalds family remained "a horticultural institution in Victoria" for much of the 20th century. Agnes took over the management of his last nursery at Mount Macedon and three of her children established themselves nearby. Several of the family's former nurseries, including Dreamthorpe, are still beautiful gardens today. Nathaniel's eldest child Emily became the manager of Ronalds Florist and two of his sister Maria Shanklin's grandchildren later became partners. Nathaniel's youngest daughters Lily and Ivy established their own florist shops.


Further Information

Alfred Ronalds: Angler, Artisan and Australian Pioneer - to be published by Medlar Press

Nathaniel Ronalds: Nurseryman and Florist (2020) - published by the Australian Garden History Society

Ronalds Nurserymen in Brentford and Beyond (2017) - published by the Gardens Trust

Newspaper article on Nathaniel's nursery at Macedon (1887)

Growing a Garden City (2014) - describes Ballarat's garden heritage