Gardening broadcaster and writer Peter Seabrook dies at 86

The famous horticulturalist and presenter of Gardeners’ World died of a heart attack.

William Janes
Sunday 16 January 2022 18:57
Peter Seabrook died of a suspected heart attack on Friday (Peter Jordan/PA)
Peter Seabrook died of a suspected heart attack on Friday (Peter Jordan/PA)

Gardening writer and broadcaster Peter Seabrook has died at the age of 86.

The horticulturalist, who presented programmes including Gardeners’ World and wrote a gardening column for The Sun for more than 40 years, died after suffering a heart attack on Friday, several media outlets have reported.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) said it would “miss him enormously”.

Gardening expert Peter Seabrook and Queen Elizabeth II at the Chelsea Flower Show (PA)

A spokesperson said on Twitter: “We are very sad to hear that one of the greatest champions of horticulture, Peter Seabrook, has died.

“Peter had the most incredible career in horticulture and exhibited at RHS Chelsea Flower Show for decades and was regularly at RHS events, gardens and flower shows.

“Through his work as a broadcaster, writer and gardener he helped and inspired so many people to garden and grow.

“As well as raising the profile and importance of horticulture, he was passionate about getting young people gardening. We will miss him enormously.

Mr Seabrook had two children, Alison and Roger, with his wife, Margaret.

The BBC reported that his children said in a joint statement: “He leaves a big gap in our lives. We are grateful that he was able to live a long and active life, pursuing what he loved right up to the end.

“The messages of appreciation that have come from people who worked with him – some going back many years and some very recent – are overwhelming.

Victoria Newton, editor in chief of The Sun, said Mr Seabrook “brightened up our days”.

She said: “For 45 years, Peter Seabrook MBE was a huge part of the Sun family, helping millions of readers with their gardening queries.

“His projects with schools helped more than three million children discover and share his passion for plants and vegetables.”

She revealed that on the day before his death Mr Seabrook was helping children at a school in Essex plant acorns to grow oak saplings to plant for the Queen’s Jubilee Canopy.

She continued: “Peter was adored by all, from the royal family and celebrities to ordinary people who wanted his help to grow plants, even if they had the smallest plot or no garden at all. To them Peter was their gardener.

“He not only wrote more than 2,300 gardening columns for The Sun, never missing a single week, but he also found time to chat to anyone he met who had a question about their own plants.

“He will be so missed in The Sun office, where he brightened up our days by bringing in presents of flowers or apples to taste and sample.

“Peter was devoted to his wife for 60 years, Margaret, who died in 2020 after suffering Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia for nine years. He created a verbena plant in her memory and raised £7,000 for the Alzheimer’s society.

“Our thoughts are with his daughter Alison, son Roger and grandchildren Tom and Rachel.”

Peter Seabrook with eight-year-old Daniel Smith from Hemel Hempstead, the winner of a competition from Your Garden magazine titled ‘Design a tie for Peter Seabrook’ (PA)

Mr Seabrook, from Chelmsford, Essex, was born in 1935 and studied horticulture at the nearby Writtle College, graduating in 1956.

While undertaking national service he trained as a florist before becoming a director of the seed and gardening company Cramphorn.

He went on to work for Bord na Mona, or Irish Peat Board, as a technical representative, before becoming a consultant and director.

He began his career as a broadcaster in 1965 with BBC Home Service, before  appearing on In Your Garden and Gardeners’ Question Time.

From 1975 he presented BBC television programmes including Gardeners’ World, Pebble Mill at One and coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show.

He was also known in the United States for hosting The Victory Garden on PBS for more than two decades.

He was made an MBE for his services in 2005.

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