Peter Seabrook Obituary Gardens

Through the mediation and writing of Peter Seabrook, who died at the age of 86, he brought gardening to millions of people, upholding traditional values ​​while promoting new plant breeding and innovation. He often said he was the most read garden journalist in Britain and sought 10 million readers with his weekly gardening advice, promotions, opinions and campaigns in the Sun; and in the 1970s on the BBC World of Gardeners, the show regularly attracted 8 million viewers a week.

Seabrook represented basic horticulture, and while relentlessly sought scientific breakthroughs in plant breeding and cultivation, he was critical of the modified and the ill-informed. He asked, “Who likes gardening?” and he regularly criticized the advice given on gardening TV by some of his descendants, who may not have done the hard yards he had done in the early days of gardening.

Seabrook was born in Chelmsford, Essex, the son of Emma (born Cottey) and Robert Seabrook. His father worked as a tool grinder in a ball bearing factory, but grew up on Peter’s grandparents ’farm in nearby Galleywood. The city VI. He attended King Edward High School, studied gardening at Writtle College, and began his career in the 1950s, instilling his values ​​from an agricultural and national service background. Initially, Cramphorn worked for seed traders and nurseries from 1958 to 1966, and then from 1966 to 1970 for the Irish peat board in Bord na Mona.

Peter Seabrook discovers a Belgian flower show, Floralies of Ghent, for the BBC in 1985

It was in the ’60s that plants were first sold in containers rather than bare roots, and Seabrook was also involved in an innovation that helped develop the horticultural centers we know today, as retailers were able to sell plants in pots all year round rather than simply. season.

His expertise prompted him to write for trade magazines — his first job as a preschooler by showing factual errors to an editor — and then breaking into the radio with his BBC program, In Your Garden (1965-70). This led to a TV appearance, including an afternoon show called Garden Diary on England TV, which was canceled in 1974 due to restrictions on the three-day week. From 1975 to 1986, he switched to the popular Pebble Mill at One program. After the BBC fired its well-known presenter, Percy Thrower, for promoting ICI, from 1976 to 1979, Seabrook presented the flagship gardening show The World of Gardeners.

The new presenter earned £ 75 on a program, researched, presented with wise advice in response to letters, and made it occasionally. The thousands of letters he replied with a long hand formed the basis of his humorous post-dinner speech. One cheeky correspondent said Seabrook’s gardening skills exceeded him, so he would be able to take care of their garden while on vacation. They then listed the dates, location, and work to be done.

Seabrook’s successor on the show was organic gardener Geoff Hamilton, with whom he clashed several times during his career as their views on gardening were completely opposite. They once even consulted lawyers. Although loyal, gentleman, charming, and sympathetic, Seabrook has never backed away from his strong views on controversial topics such as the value of peat crop production.

He recently campaigned for the government to review its plan to ban peat, which is widely seen as harmful to the environment. He fought to the very end against what he saw as woolly thinking and poor gardening standards in everyone from the BBC to the RHS. Nevertheless, Seabrook was seen worldwide (in the United States between 1975 and 1997, he ran the PBS series The Victory Garden) as an ancient English old-school gardener, and was very much loved for it.

He was present at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show from 1952, and after starting working for the tabloid in 1977, he introduced the Sun Gardens, full of new plant varieties grown by schoolchildren there.

His wife, Margaret, who was married in 1960 after meeting her at the College of Horticulture, died in Covid-19 in 2020 after living with Alzheimer’s for almost a decade. Typically, Seabrook started Verbena’s plant called “Margaret’s Memory” to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society. The pale pink perennial was planted at RHS Garden Hyde Hall, near its home in Chelmsford, where Floral Fantasia made bedding shows. Margaret’s death prompted her to write a heartfelt plea to the government asking for the reopening of horticultural centers for the nation’s mental health during the garden shortage.

He was named an MBE in 2005 and was the only person to hold the first three RHS awards, the Victoria Medal of Honor (awarded in 2003), the Associate of Honor and the Harlow Carr.

In an article published in Horticultural Week magazine in 2020, on the occasion of his 85th birthday, of which he was an opinion writer, he said, “there is so much to do, so much to learn”.

He was left with a son, Roger, a daughter, Alison, and two grandchildren.

Peter John Seabrook, gardener, born 2 November 1935; He died on January 14, 2022

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