Leading lights from the world of horticulture gathered in October to celebrate the career of Amateur Gardening magazine's longest-serving columnist, Peter Seabrook.
Former Gardeners’ World and Chelsea Flower Show TV presenter Peter was honoured with a party to mark his 60 years in horticulture, 50 years in journalism, and 37 years as gardening editor of The Sun. He’s written for AG since 1984.
The do, at the RHS London Shades of Autumn Show, saw Peter stage an exhibition of the biggest developments in flowers and vegetables during his 60 year career.
From his early days of National Service and selling peat, rising to become a TV gardener and a pioneer of the garden centre industry and container-grown plants – over 100 industry leaders turned out to applaud Peter’s achievements.
Former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie described Peter as “one of the greats” on the newspaper. Kelvin said: “The whole time that I was the editor, Peter Seabrook ran our gardening column.
“I can’t tell you how unusual it is for any staff member at The Sun to last 14 years! Every week he turns up, works hard, and believes in it. Peter brought energy, drive and enthusiasm.”
The tabloid heavyweight joked about a letter he wrote to Peter in 1985, which stated: “I’m afraid I don’t think you’re putting enough effort into your gardening columns…”
Kelvin added: “Thirty years later, I’m pushing a broom outside Tesco and Peter is still producing great columns.”
Peter said he survived Kelvin’s “grenade management” and witnessed big advances in horticulture that now benefit the nation’s gardeners.
Asked to name the three biggest revolutions in gardening during his career, Peter told AG: “It has to be F1 hybrid seed, and the arrival of reliable potting composts that set a standard and don’t change from batch-to-batch.
“And rigid plastic pots: without them we couldn’t have the mechanisation and control that has given us quality.”
Former RHS boss Gordon Rae described Peter as “an ideas man who makes things happen” and paid tribute to Peter’s work to encourage kids to garden.