Amateur Gardening joined leading lights in horticulture to honour the late television gardener Geoff Hamilton.
The winter border at Barnsdale Gardens in Rutland, which was home to Gardeners’ World from 1983 to 1986, is being revamped by Geoff’s son Nick, who runs the gardens.
Geoff Hamilton died in August 1996, aged 60. He suffered a heart attack while on a charity cycle ride. Four years later, AG readers voted for Geoff as Gardener of the Millennium.
Now, to mark 20 years since Geoff’s passing, gardeners and celebrities including Alan Titchmarsh donated 120 plants for Barnsdale’s new winter border (see below), which will feature 350 varieties in a 115x33ft (35x10m) plot.
AG donated the winter-flowering shrub Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’. It was suggested by former AG editor Graham Clarke, who said: “I chose it because Geoff represented the ‘dawn’ of a new era of gardening on television.”
Nick Hamilton said: “The winter border was created by my father in the second half of the ‘80s with [plantsman] Adrian Bloom. “But now it had gone past its best and wasn’t doing what we wanted it to do: provide enjoyment, be realistic to what people have at home, and ensure people go away with at least one idea.
“Our main focus [of the new planting] is winter, as well as interest during other seasons, too.”
Organic and peat-free Barnsdale still comprises Geoff’s 38 themed gardens, cultivated to his organic and peat-free principles.
The new winter border was opened on 9 August 2016 by TV’s Carol Klein (pictured, above).
Nick added: “My father discovered Carol at Glebe Cottage donkeys years ago. He found Carol’s nursery, thought she was great, and asked if she’d like to be on Gardeners’ World.
“I asked Carol if she’d open the border and she almost burst into tears. She came up for free.”