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Peter Seabrook dies aged 86

Peter Seabrook dies aged 86

Peter, who leaves behind two children and two grandchildren, suffered a heart attack at his home in Chelmsford, Essex, on Friday.

Peter Seabrook
Peter Seabrook

After leaving school, he studied at Writtle Horticulture College in Essex, where he met future wife Margaret, who he married in 1960.

Peter was a broadcaster before he wrote for newspapers and magazines — on the BBC Home Service from 1965, and he then later appeared on TV’s Gardeners’ World and on Pebble Mill At One.

He first visited the Chelsea Flower Show in 1952 and was a regular exhibitor there up to 2021, presenting the Queen with a posy each year.

He was horticulture's most-respected and longest serving writer, and as Horticulture Week's lead opinion writer was a tireless champion of the industry. He had written for The Sun since 1977 and also wrote for Amateur Gardening for 35 years.

As he turned 85 in November 2021, he concluded in Horticulture Week: "So much to do, so much to learn."

In 2020, Peter’s beloved wife of 60 years, Margaret, died with Covid after living with dementia for nine years. He created in her honour the flower Margaret’s Memory, a pale pink Verbena, and donated the proceeds to Alzheimer’s Research.

Their children, Alison and Roger, issued a joint statement in which they said he "spent many years caring for our mother through Alzheimer's".

They added: "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."

Peter was awarded an MBE in 2005, and he was the only person in the UK to hold the top three RHS awards for services to horticulture: The Victoria Medal of Honour (in 2003), the RHS Associate of Honour (1996) and the Harlow Carr Medal.

He began his career in horticulture aged 10. When he was 16, he was able to pay for a visit to the Netherlands to tour nurseries with money he had raised selling flowers from his back garden to a local florist. After attending King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford he worked for two years on seed trial grounds, then studied horticulture at Writtle College in Essex, earning a diploma in 1956 (and later an Honorary Fellowship in 1997). After national service (RASC 1956-58), he became a director of Cramphorns (1958-66), and then was Bord na Mona technical representative (1966-70), before becoming a consultant and director of two garden centre companies, William Strike (1972-95) and Roger Harvey (1981-99).

His broadcasting career began in 1965 on radio, with the BBC Home Service; he appeared on In Your Garden (1965-70) and Gardeners' Question Time. On BBC television, beginning in 1975, he presented programmes including Gardeners' World (1976-79), Pebble Mill at One (1975-86), Gardeners' Direct Line (1982-90), Peter Seabrook's Gardening Week (1996), Great Gardeners (HGTV 1997-98) and coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show (1976-89). In America, he hosted The Victory Garden on PBS (1975-97).

For professionals, he wrote for Nurseryman and Garden Centre from 1964-2003 and Horticulture Week thereafter. As well as being a garden writer for The Sun from 1977, he wrote for The Yorkshire Post from 1981-92 and for Amateur Gardening from 1986. His books included Shrubs for Your Garden (1973), Complete Vegetable Gardener (1976), Book of the Garden (1979), Good Plant Guide (1981) and Shrubs for Everyone (1997).

In recent times, as well as broadcasting, writing, exhibiting and campaigning, he threw his energies into Floral Fantasia at RHS Harlow Carr. He was gardening, campaigning to the end, writing columns and then visiting RHS Hyde Hall and WD Smith's Nurseries the day before he died.

Horticulture Week editor Matthew Appleby said: "The whole of horticulture will be shocked and saddened by this news. Peter was the most respected and the greatest gardening writer of his time and will be much missed."

Tributes pour in for Peter Seabrook, who has died aged 86

Peter Seabrook has died aged 86 and the gardening world has begun paying tribute to a great horticulturist.

Peter Seabrook
Peter Seabrook with his floral tie

Ball Colegrave's Stuart Lowen said: "Everyone at Ball have been deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Peter Seabrook, one of Horticulture’ absolute greatest. Peter was a dear friend to so many people and an incredible ambassador for our industry. He had an incredible ability to always to make things happen, and if he said he would do something, he always honoured his promise.


"One of the great strengths I remember Peter for was that he always had time for everyone and listened, a great skill too often we overlook. Peters legacy of enthusiasm, excitement and enjoyment of plants will live on through all those whose hearts he has touched over the years. I have so many fond memories of working with Peter, many always bring a smile to my face and a little chuckle because every image I have of Peter, he always had a plant in his hand and a big beaming smile."


WD Smith & Son's Michael Smith said: "We were devastated to hear the news of Peter's death. And in shock, he was with us on Thursday afternoon, as usual we were going through his note book making plans for the year. Always with 101 things on the go, he couldn't stop himself from doing more.


We will miss him so much, but must try and keep his legacy alive, pushing for the industry to be properly represented in the gardening world. He was such an incredible supporter and friend to our family business, and I'm sure there are many more feeling the same today. Our condolences go out to his family."


Blue Diamond MD Alan Roper said: "I would walk home from school to watch Peter Seabrook on Pebble Mill at One in the 70s and of course, watch him on Gardeners World, he alongside Percy Thrower, was instrumental in inspiring me to become a horticulturist when I left school at 16. I had the pleasure to connect with him in person in recent years and the man was as passionate, genuine, and kind as the man I imagined him to be all those years ago on TV. The industry has lost a knowledgeable communicator for the everyman."


HTA president Boyd Douglas-Davies said: “It was with a heavy heart that I learnt of the passing of Peter Seabrook. He was, without doubt, "Mr Gardening" - the original gardening superhero. I was fortunate to meet Peter in the early days of my career in Horticulture. The enthusiasm he shared with me 30+ years ago never diminished. He enthralled and educated the public through TV, radio and the written word for decades. His passion for everything garden related was infectious. He engaged with children as easily as he did with their grand-parents. He had time for all and was never slow to share his opinion. Many a time I have shared a stage with Peter and been amazed at his unwavering ability to answer any question. His 'readers letters' were legendary and hugely entertaining. The industry has lost a true champion. A character. A media giant. A knowledge that will be impossible to replace. Above all, we have today lost a friend. Peter RIP.”


HTA's James Barnes said: "“Peter was a wonderful standard bearer for the industry and for the nation's gardeners. He represented the many rather than the few and his enthusiasm and knowledge was endless. He will be missed by all of us.”


RHS president Keith Weed said: "I'm deeply saddened that one of the greatest champions of horticulture has passed away. He gave me one of the warmest welcomes when I became president of the RHS. His passion was infectious and we spent much time exchanging ideas on horticulture. I first met him at RHS Hyde Hall and we chatted over Rudbeckia trials. Peter had the most incredible career in horticulture and exhibited at the 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 many people to garden and grow. As well as raising the profile and importance of horticulture, he was passionate about getting young people gardening. Peter was hugely respected and held the RHS's highest award for services to horticulture, the VHM. We will miss him enormously."


BPOA's Derek Jarman said "Peter was one of those people you couldn’t say no to. He worked continuously from early dawn to late dusk for the good of horticulture and gardening, not afraid to stand up for what he felt was right, even if it was against the tide of politically correct thinking. His campaigns to promote ornamental flowering plants and bulbs will be sorely missed. We as an industry owe Peter a duty of care to continue and expand the Floral Fantasia at RHS Hyde Hall and to manage the reduction in the use of peat without destroying UK home grown plant production and the home gardening experience. Rest in peace."


Garden show organiser Bob Sweet said: "I was so sad to read of Peter’s death, I have been working with Peter since 1981 when he was presenting BBC Gardeners’ World right up to last Thursday. He has been not only an inspiration to me, but a driving force for the industry.
"Peter was a one man campaigner who could not rest if there was to be a horticultural cause to be celebrated. A new plant, a charitable cause, a reasoned view, a new product and above all young people. Peter saw the value in encouraging children , as our future, to take an interest in growing plants. 
"Peter was an inspiring person who always had a twinkle in his eye. He was mischievous, as I knew from my period working on Chelsea - he grew Sunflower Street into an Avenue, he was always at the ready to ambush a Royal or a celebrity with a posy, and on one occasion managed to stage a Page Three shot in the Great Pavilion before we had time to object!
"At BBC Gardeners’ World Live he coined the term ‘meal barrow’ a competition encouraging schools to grow veg in a wheelbarrow. We appointed him to become a judge-but in Peter’s view everyone deserved a Gold Medal! That was Peter. Out thoughts go to his family, but meanwhile we should celebrate his achievements." 

Glendoick Gardens' Ken Cox said: "Peter Seabrook was undoubtedly one of the great horticultural figures of his age and someone who combined a sound knowledge of commercial horticulture with very savvy media work and excellent journalism. Very few can do both jobs so well. He was courageous in calling out foolish developments and practices as he saw them. He felt strongly that TV gardening presenters should have formal training and was furious when one of his successors as lead presenter on Gardeners World talked horticultural nonsense. Likewise, the peat debate, which he felt was hijacked by the environmental lobby, before an intelligent discussion of what the best way forward might be. He was always a great supporter of all the work we did at Glendoick on rhododendron and azalea breeding and he offered to launch our red leaved rhododendrons Everred and Wine and Roses in The Sun newspaper in his column… immediate sell out. I don’t know anyone else of his age who had more energy and enthusiasm for the industry. I was a guest on his podcast a year or so again and we have been working on the peat issue for some time. I’ll miss him at all the shows and events where he would always be striding out with information on the latest thing that caught his eye.. top of his agenda to tell you about.. A great man."


Anthony Cramphorn said: "I met Peter when he was first the Horticutural Consultant  to Cramphorn Garden Centres, and later became our Horticultural Director for a number of years  I was the Sales Director at the  time. Peter was a hugely valued member of our team and dispensed sound advice not only to our own nursery staff but also  to the many members of the public who consulted him in that capacity. He was exceptionally knowledgeable, had a lovely sense of humour, and a very good public speaker as became evident when he developed his career in horticultural journalism. He will of course be sadly missed. I am not in the least surprised  that he was still very active up to the end."


GardenPlantCoop's Gary Doerr said: "I came to know Peter from his many appearances as the International Travel Presenter on the Victory Garden (PBS/WGBH- Boston. As a new business owner focused on hardy garden perennials for gardeners in the Midwest (USA) it was must see TV. The Brits blazed the perennial plant trail in those days. 


"Little did I know that I would someday meet Peter. First at Chelsea then at the Bloom’s fabulous gardens in Bressingham. I felt I knew Peter and he was as authentic as I imagined him to be. Just this past week Peter and I communicated about his attempts to educate folks about the virtues of peat.
"Peter advocated for our trade like few others. His unique perspective and experience was an asset to us all. He will be missed on so many levels. It saddens me deeply to say goodbye. 
"Back when I was president of Blooms of Bressingham, North America Peter approached me about a new plant variety - Verbena ‘Seabrook’s Lavender’. His verbena demonstrated great garden vigor and found its way to market in North America under the Blooms of Bressingham name. It was an honor for me to play a small part in telling the Peter Seabrook story using his namesake variety as introduction. The plant’s vigor was the USP and rightly so as it reflects Peter’s life perfectly."

Nicholas Marshall said: "I am very sorry to hear that Peter has died.
I had promised myself that I would try and see him this year and sadly time has run out. He was a joy to be with. A great ambassador for horticulture and keen to support British nurseries. He asked searching questions but as kind and gentle with a sense of humour. I was lucky to know him and hope he would regard me as a friend. British Horticulture has lost a great man and so have we all."


Woodlark Nurseries' Colin Edwards said: "Such a great loss for commercial horticulture especially the bedding plant sector, a great advocate for colourful bedding displays. Our condolences go out to his family."


YouGarden's Peter McDermott said: "He will be greatly missed by the whole of the horticultural industry - his industry and product knowledge, sage guidance and rare laser-sharp commercial eye, added to the fact he knew everyone who was anyone has been such an asset for so many for a very long time. Above all else, he was always a true gentleman   I don’t believe there is another like him."


Perrywood Nurseries' Bourne family said: "Peter was always keen to hunt out the next high performing plant variety, so would always quiz Alan about what we were growing, and mention several recommendations of his own in return. His passion for plants was evident to all who met him. Peter once worked for Cramphorn’s on Newton Road in Sudbury, which three years ago came into our ownership and is now Perrywood Sudbury. He came along to our first anniversary party and shared his stories of working on the site, telling us he used cycle to work from Chelmsford, a four to five hour round trip! We will miss his dedication to the industry, his support for Perrywood, his Floral Fantasia displays at RHS Hyde Hall, his ties, his notebook and his smile."


Desch Plantpak's Phil Griffiths said: "Such sad news to hear of Peter's death. His support of our industry was relentless until the very end. A very approachable and knowledgeable 'good guy' who lived and breathed Horticulture. He will be missed."


Syngenta Flowers' Neil Fishlock said: "I was very saddened today to hear of the death of Peter Seabrook. He was and is a true inspiration to the Horticultural Industry. With an amazing can-do attitude, ability to communicate with so many, keep up with industry trends - in particular plant innovation. I will truly miss him as will so many others. My condolences to his family - they must be so proud of this wonderful person."


Plants for Europe's Graham Spencer said: "This is such sad news. I had been working with Peter for the last few years and he was always a delight to work with. He had fantastic knowledge of our industry, not only of horticulture but also of people - he had an amazing knack of getting people to work together to get things done, and he achieved that with a smile and a twinkle in his eyes. You always felt that he was not only very good at what he did, but also loved every moment. A great loss to our industry."


Burpee/BPOA's Simon Crawford said: "He was indeed a towering figure in horticulture, a great champion for gardening and plants in general. Most of all though he was a kind and generous individual, always ready to listen, advise and act. My contact with him began in 1983 when he helped with the launch of tomato ‘Red Alert’ inviting me to make a brief presentation at a Garden Centre Association conference. I was an extremely nervous young plant breeder but he gave me the confidence to stand up and say a few words. More recently I had been working with him on the Floral Fantasia project at RHS Hyde Hall which he saw as a legacy of his work over the past sixty or so years. Peter was a true hero of our industry, respected worldwide and he will be sadly missed. We must try to follow in his footsteps."


Whartons Garden Roses' Robert Wharton said: "We were shocked to hear of the sudden death of Peter, a friend and colleague who all at Whartons Roses had a huge respect for. It was over 50 years ago when Peter started working for the Anglia group of Nurseries as a part-time consultant helping us with the sales strategy needed for the then newly formed marketing co-operative. Peter was always full of energy and had new ideas which acted as a catalyst to help the member nurseries plan the way forward. Even in recent years Peter still made time to visit us in Norfolk every July to walk the rose fields in full flower spending several hours reviewing the new trial varieties and suggesting ways to promote them."


Gardens and landscaping consultant Alan Sargent said: "Very sad to hear about Peter. He was a real friend and mentor, encouraging me behind the scenes for thirty years at least. He worked so hard on behalf of this industry, both mentally and physically, he will be irreplaceable."


Wildlife gardener Chris Baines said: "Peter and I first worked together on Pebblemill at One in the mid-1970s, and I horrified him by creating a Rich Habitat Garden on BBC Gardeners’ World in ’79. In many  respects our gardening philosophies were poles apart, but I respected Peter enormously, and we gradually became good friends. His recent podcasts proved an ideal way to reinforce that friendship and I will miss the opportunities to laugh our way through our disagreements and to enjoy our shared passion for enthusing young gardeners."


Broadcaster David Domoney said: "Peter Seabrook was always good to me and we shared so much common ground over the years promoting gardening from our own campaigns. There is a strong positive legacy that this courageous man gave to gardening and the horticultural industry."


Garden writer Barbara Segall said: "Peter was a good friend and colleague. He was always supportive and kind, generous with his time and knowledge. He had a great sense of humour, always asked the key questions at any press events and was thoughtful and polite, always thanking his hosts and colleagues. He knew everyone in horticulture, made time for newcomers in all fields and it will be hard to think of events such as RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the Garden Press Event and the Garden Media Guild Awards without his presence. His floral ties, his buttonholes, inimitable hat and his notebook… all part of his no-nonsense horticultural persona."


Sow Successful's Chris Wiley said: "Peter has been so supportive of me over the last couple of years, and I was honoured when he asked me to grow Verbena ‘Margaret’s Memory’, named after his late wife, for Chelsea Flower Show and BBC Gardeners World Live in 2021. One of my proudest achievements and I can’t thank him enough for putting his trust in me. It was only a month or so ago that he last visited me and the first thing he said was “how do you fancy being on my podcast? How about tomorrow?!” To which I replied “absolutely Peter” not even questioning myself, as that’s just the level of respect that everybody has for him. No is not an answer when Peter requested something of you. You just did it!"


Rosebourne's Jack Shilley said: "Peter was a huge inspiration of mine. I was so very lucky to have had the opportunity to be guided by him in the very early days of my career, working alongside him and his daughter at our school gardening club! His never ending enthusiasm for the industry especially garden retail, sheer passion and delight in sharing that enthusiasm with others, particularly young people - were second to none. I can’t thank him enough for all he’s done for me personally, I attribute the time spent with him as a large part of why I am in this industry today - I am so saddened by this news. He we will be missed terribly and the industry has lost a true legend. My thoughts are with his family at this time.”


Broadcaster Marian Foster said: "I was shocked to hear the sad news of Peter’s sudden death. I first worked with Peter in 1975 as co-presenter on BBC’s Pebble Mill at One show where he broadcast a live slot every Friday afternoon. He was always a joy to work with, fun, kind, totally professional, he soon had millions of fans who loved his jovial chuckle, friendliness, and prodigious knowledge of gardening. 

"We broadcast together from the RHS Chelsea show in the 1970s where he won silver gilt medals for a display of radishes grown by school children, and the following year for a replica of his DIG THIS vegetable garden project.  It was developed in the Pebble Mill garden to prove how well you could feed a family of four from a 10’x14’ plot spending only an hour’s work a week and £1worth of seeds. Thousands of viewers wrote in for factsheets every week and his 'Dig This' booklets sold over a million.   


"In recent years I always looked forward to meeting him at horticultural events and greatly valued his advice and support. He never changed, he was always full of boundless energy and knowledge. His enthusiasm for life was infectious and an inspiration to young and old. He greatly deserved all the awards and accolades he received. I will miss him. RIP Peter. My condolences to his family."


Gardening Express' Chris Bonnett said: "We are all mourning the loss of Peter here at Gardening Express, he was a true legend in every sense of the word; horticultural royalty if you will, he leaves a pair of gardening wellies behind that I doubt anyone we know of can fill. Such a gent and voice across the industry from the commercial side right to the general public and beginners starting out during the pandemic, there is no one I know in the business with such a depth of experience, understanding or appeal. He was a real advocate for us here too; I remember around 10 years ago taking on students for the summer that had attended a seminar at Meadowcroft where he was a speaker. They came to me because of his advocacy, the words still echo ‘look at Gardening Express, they’ve come out of nowhere’, so he was also a visionary continually looking to the future. Anyone one who knew him, along with the millions of readers of his columns in The Sun will miss him, as we will as an industry. I hope as part of his legacy we can galvanise together to take horticulture forward here in the UK, all in all an incredible man with too many achievements and accolades to mention, our deepest sympathies got out to his nearest and dearest."


Garden writer Ian Spence said: "So very sad to hear of the passing of Peter Seabrook. I got to know him many years ago and enjoyed meeting him at flower shows and trade exhibitions. His legendary status within the horticultural industry is assured. I remember Peter once asking me to help on one of his displays at Chelsea Flower Show working alongside children from local schools, and further afield, who had contributed to growing the plants for the display. He was great at encouraging children into gardening. Afterall they are the future of the industry. It was a delight to see the enthusiasm the children showed when they were asked questions by members of the public or showing them the plants, they helped to grow. 


"Peter was one of the greatest publicists the horticultural industry has ever had and although his passing is a great loss to the industry it is up to the rest of us to keep doing the tremendously good work, he did in promoting horticulture for everyone from the youngest to the oldest. I'm sure Peter wouldn't expect anything less. 
"I read that Peter's daughter Alison Seabrook Moore said, "he was working at full throttle until the end". If I may quote James Joyce. "Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age" Well Peter certainly did that. And what could anyone want more, a long life doing exactly what you've always wanted to do with flair, passion, and hard work. 
"Though we mourn Peter's passing we also celebrate his long life and many achievements. It's not given to everyone to have a passion in life and make a living from it but when it happens it is the most wonderful thing. Peter helped millions of people around the world take up gardening as a hobby or enter the industry and he is rightly applauded for that and all his other achievements in horticulture. I will miss meeting Peter at Chelsea Flower Show and other shows and at trade exhibitions. These events won't be quite the same. It was a great privilege to call Peter a friend.
"My heartfelt condolences go to Peter's family and close friends. Peter, your work is done, sleep well sir. Rest in peace."

Gardening writer Adam Pasco said: "Peter has been part of my gardening life since my childhood, inspiring me with his TV shows, and then working with me on a variety of projects over the years on magazines, including BBC Gardeners' World... from writing features, joining me and hundreds of our readers as a host on gardening cruises, and even presenting a series of theatre shows around the country with Diarmuid Gavin and Charlie Dimmock. One of my very first gardening books 'Shrubs For Your Garden' gave me a grounding in hardy plants during my training at Slocock Nursery back in the late 70's. More recently I've joined Peter several times on his regular podcast for The Sun, and in his Christmas message to me he said 'Desparately busy ... just planted 15,000 spring flowering bulbs at Hyde Hall'. Thank you Peter for your lifelong contribution to gardening and horticulture ... a kind, generous gentleman. RIP with your beloved Margaret."


Rijnbeek Perennials' Arno Rijnbeek said: "What a shocking news this morning reached me on the social media, the death of the legend Peter Seabrook. Though I have first met him this last November while he visited our nursery here in Boskoop. We had a click directly from the first moment. His passion about plants is what his absolutely strength was. That was made him beloved by everyone in the industry. We talked about lots of different plants, Peter made notes and pictures to write articles and think about the possibilities with these plants. We made plans for doing projects together in 2022, though he said you never now how long I have, but I want to keep making plans because that keeps me going! Such a pity I have known him only such a short time in person. I wish his family and beloved ones all the strength for the time coming. The Industry will miss him!"


Kings Seeds Andrew Tokely said: "Peter was a true gardening Legend, so supportive, and interested in both hobby and commercial Horticulture. Always had time to chat and keen to know the latest introduction, or handy gardening tip he could pass on. I am deeply shocked as we only did a podcast together on 7th January when he was full of live and laughter as always . Peter will be deeply missed by all that ever had pleasure of meeting him. Mine and Kings Seeds thoughts are with Peters family at this sad time."


Fleuroselect's Sally van den Horst said: "At Fleuroselect we were devistated to learn of the passing of Peter Seabrook. We had the opportunity to work with him on so many projects dear to his horticultural heart. He spoke at our conferences always bringing a laugh with his gardening anecdotes. He championed bedding plants and the breeding work done by our members and we worked together on many projects to promote the wonderful colour that flowers bring to the garden. We were welcome guests in his podcasts where he put us at ease with his broadcasting skills. The Horticultural industry, not just in the U.K. but worldwide, will miss a true professional, a great gardener and a real friend. RIP Peter."


Theresa Wedderburn of Branch-out MK CIC said: I had the pleasure of creating a show garden at BBC Gardener’s World Live for Peter Seabrook’s ’Sunflower Street’ in 2002. He was very supportive to all the exhibitors and such a passionate advocate for all things horticultural. A lovely man who’s immense knowledge will be greatly missed. Condolences to his family."
Gardenex's Amanda Sizer Barrett said: "I was very saddened to read the news that Peter had died. There will be many, many people who wish to pay tribute to dear Peter, but I’m sending this to add to all the kind words being expressed about him. Many condolences to his family and friends.

“Peter was an inspiration to so many in the gardening and horticulture sectors. He had extraordinary energy, knowledge and enthusiasm and seemed ageless. It was always a pleasure to see him, and he supported so many of our industry events — at Chelsea, at Glee, at trials days, at the Garden Press Event among just a few, always commenting astutely on aspects of our industry and forging or reinforcing links and connections or supporting projects. One of my favourite memories of him was when we took the Sunflower Street gardens to the Boston Flower Show — the gardens were built despite waist-high snowfall locally and he then proceeded effortlessly to charm the masses of US visitors to the stand with his gardening and plant advice —delivered in that distinctive voice with patience, humour and a twinkle in his eye. He was an absolute gentleman in every way and will be keenly missed.“
Amateur Gardening editor Garry Coward-Williams said: "“For 36 years Peter‘s column in AG dispensed practical advice and sage wisdom which helped countless thousands to become better, more informed gardeners. Peter was tireless in his promotion of gardening, his thirst for new varieties and his unstinting campaigning in what he saw as important hort issues. Peter was also a good friend and trusted advisor to me. We will all miss him - he has no equal.”
Riz Reyes said: "As a young child I watched 'The Victory Garden' on public television here in the USA and fondly remember the segments featuring Mr. Seabrook who basically showed me the world through its gardens. From tours of orchid farms in Singapore to learning about chitting potatoes in the island of Jersey, I wanted to be able to do what he did someday. I deeply regret not getting an opportunity to meet him in person to thank him for being one of my early influences in becoming a horticulturist, garden writer and educator. My thoughts and condolences to his loved ones and the whole gardening community across the pond."

Bransford Webbs' David Chilvers said: "Very sad news, he had our industry to his core and managed to get the message to the masses. A practical viewpoint and great ambassador for horticulture."


Webb Garden Centres' Ed Webb said: "An amazing ambassador for growers and garden centres. The industry will sorely miss him."


Woodlands' Jamie Downes said: "RIP Peter, such a sad loss. One of the few honest voices who understood commercial horticulture."


Graeme Heath of Simpsons Garden Centre said: "Such sad news.Such a stalwart of our great industry who promoted it well and with passion.Had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions…a true gentleman who will be greatly missed."


IDC Greenscapes' Ian Chatters said: "I knew him from the Pebble Mill and Gardeners World days and that what inspired me to go into the Horticulture industry.  I often saw him at Europlants and meeting him at our nursery in Maldon, Essex. I will never forget when Peter came to a BALI meeting and read out lots of letters that he receives and was full of funny comments between reading them, a very entertaining evening.  We was looking forward to seeing again this year. We also helped in selling his flower in memory of his wife, 'Margaret’s Memory', a pale pink Verbena. We corresponded on social media. He was very true, faithful  and great mentor to the Horticulture Industry. We will miss him!"

Ball Horticultural Company's Scott Morahan said: "Sad news." Evergreen Garden Care's Patrick Philipp said: "We have lost a real ambassador for the garden industry and a lovely polite gentleman so sorry to hear the news." 


Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants' Rosemary Hardy said: "Such a loss to the industry." 


Jekka McVicar said: "One of the unsung heroes of horticulture. A champion of the garden the gardener and the nursery. I will miss him."


Bernhard's Lewis Normand said: "What a terrible shame. A lovely man and someone who I have great respect for." Horticulturist


Graham Porter said: "A sad loss for our industry." New Leaf Plants'


Mollie Higginson said: "Such sad news."


Alan Down said: "Such as sad loss to our industry."


Consultant Jane Lawler said: "Peter was a true gentleman and an icon in our gardening world. He was already a prominent and revered opinion former when I started my first job in 1984 and yet he was prepared to listen and engage with a total newbie novice! I’m going to miss his calm, dogmatic approach and generous spirit. Gone too soon."


Horticulturist Jason Lock said: "A sad loss, worked with Peter over many years through Notcutts and John Woods Nurseries and only just in talks with a further venture before Christmas. A gent of the industry with a wry sense of humour. RIP."


Cassie King said: "Absolutely devastated. I worked with Peter several times, the highlight being asked to project manage four industry gardens at Chelsea in 2016. Peter was an inspiration to me and gave me so many opportunities for which I will be forever grateful for."


Southern Trident's Balaji Manoharan said: "An immense loss to the industry and all those who knew him personally. A true gentleman who stood by his principles till his last breath. May his soul rest in peace." Southern Trident's Steve Harper said: "Shocked and saddened to hear of Peter’s death. A true gentleman with horticulture running through his veins. Always open to discussion about the industry, a man who held strong opinions but ready to listen to others points of views. You will be missed, rest in peace Peter."


Frosts Landscape Constuction's Ken White said: "Very sad loss, a legend and pioneer in our industry."


Ivy Hatch's Debs Ednie said: "How awful, up there as one of my Hort heroes."


The Sun photographer Arthur Edwards said: "Peter was never happier than when the garden soil was between his fingers. My dear friend was a national treasure.” 


The Sun travel editor Lisa Minot said: "Thank you for the apples - Mr Peter Seabrook. My esteemed colleague of (for me) 30 years. One of life’s good people."


Editor Phil Evans said: "We have lost the 'Gentleman of Horticulture'. Peter cannot be replaced. It was a pleasure and an honour to have known him. The flower display in heaven will be enhanced.  R.I.P."


Horticulture Week editor Matthew Appleby said: "The whole of horticulture will be shocked and saddened by this news. Peter was the most respected and the greatest gardening writer of his time and will be much missed."


Further tributes for the late Peter Seabrook



Further tributes have been sent to Horticulture Week after Peter Seabrook died on 14 January aged 86.


Peter Seabrook
Peter Seabrook

Kernock Park Plants' Richard Harnett said: "I first met Peter at Efford EHS in 1965 when he worked for Bord na Mona. Over the years we have often talked about plants and sticking up for the horticultural industry.  If it happened to be at Chelsea or Gardeners' World Live he would often be interrupted by passers by saying hello and remembering his days hosting Gardeners' World many years before. His Life Time Achievement award at the 2015 Hort Week Growers Awards was one of many accolades to the tireless effort he devoted to bring the love of gardening to everyone but always remembering who produced these plants and the problems the industry faced. His undying enthusiasm for plants and the people interested in growing will have a lasting memory and the loss of Peter will be greatly missed."


John Richardson and family of Johnsons of Whixley said: "We were so shocked to hear the sudden news of Peter’s recent death. Our sincere condolences.


"My memories of Peter go back to 1955 when I was in my first year at Writtle and Peter was in his second year. He was one of those few people who appeared to stay in the public (horticultural!) eye throughout his entire life.


"We last saw him when he called for a few hours approximately 6 months ago to discuss our current concept of the horticultural industry.  As usual, he was under time pressure, but we enjoyed a few hours of reminiscing as far back as Writtle, the passing of both our wives, and the subsequent changes in all things horticultural.


"Peter did more for our industry than almost anyone else, his in-depth knowledge of all the facets of the industry, the principal players, the threats to the industry and the activity of our foreign competitors, ensured that his public comments were always appropriate and justified.


"Peter was the bedrock of the horticultural industry, which he so obviously loved. He was a great friend to us all. He will be sorely missed."


Robert Hillier said: "I am very sorry to hear of Peter’s sudden death. I spoke to him on the phone a few weeks ago and he was talking with great enthusiasm about his plans for the future. He really was a great character, totally committed to plants, gardening and commercial horticulture and the people involved. He was extremely knowledgeable and a wonderful champion for our industry. He will be sadly missed. I used to meet Peter and Margaret regularly at Chelsea and we would have a catch-up on what was happening in the world of horticulture. They were great fun and had a very special relationship together."


Stewarts' Martin Stewart said: "What an extraordinary friend to the industry, indeed all of us. I too remember returning home at lunchtime with my father to see him on Pebble Mill at One in the 1970’s. We also have cuttings of Sunday Times articles written by Peter from the early 1970’s talking about the development of Garden Centres. Has there ever been anyone more prolific?

"One of my first memories of the trade was watching him bouncing onto the stage for his 15 minute slot at GCA Conferences in the early 1980’s.

"He was so inspirational, his energy was extraordinary, his legacy incredible. Thank you Peter, so very much."


Broadcaster David Domoney said: "I am so sorry to hear of the passing of my dear friend and colleague Peter Seabrook. His positive impact on this nation of gardeners should never be underestimated. He tirelessly promoted gardening through his writing, broadcasting and many campaigns & projects including his inspiring exhibits at the Chelsea Flower Show, many of which he funded personally. His drive to support schools and children's gardening has inspired many new generations of gardeners. His staunch support of the horticultural industry has gain him the respect in thousands of boardrooms across Britain. Peter will be sorely missed but rest assured his legacy of the millions he inspired to enjoy their garden will live on."


Kerley's David Kerley said: I remember Peter from the Unwins Press Days in the 80s when he would always break away from the main group of Press visitors to try and find out what was going on behind the scenes.  Since we formed our breeding company he has been a frequent and welcome visitor, rarely missing an Open Trial. Tim and I were very happy to spend time with our good friend as his penetrating questions and ideas frequently directed us to new angles in our breeding. And he was always very encouraging, especially to the younger generation. It’s often said that no-one is irreplaceable. Peter was an exception."


Paul Rochford said: "Peter was first and foremost an inspiring and dedicated plantsman. His wit and charm were legendary and he was at ease in any setting. He was a tremendous force for horticulture and a good friend to our International Rose Trials. We will miss him greatly along with his collection of pens and notebooks!"


Majestic Trees' Steve McCurdy said: "I think the whole industry is in shock over Peter Seabrook’s passing on Friday. He was so full of energy, his enthusiasm was infectious and he had such a passion for life, especially for all things horticulture. Our industry will be a much poorer for the loss, as he was one of the real champions, who was always willing to stick his head above the parapet, challenging us to stand up for what was right. Yet at the same time he always remained humble, smiling all the time, a true gentleman in every way.


"I remember him well doing BBC Gardeners World, Pebble Mill at One, etc when I was a teenager, yet even at 86 years old he had far more energy that most of us did at 20! At one of the last IPM Essen’s, I can vividly remember him bounding down the hall to me so excited about what he saw, with him always looking out for new innovations, or quizzing anything he thought might have dubious biosecurity.


"However, his greatest passion was getting young people into horticulture, spending hours encouraging them and putting his money where his mouth was, in more ways than many of us know. He was a man of integrity, always willing to ‘call a spade a spade’, yet not having any enemies. Who will take up his mantel, as his challenges to industry will be sorely missed? And as he always signed off his emails, ‘In haste’, as he always said he had so much still to do."


Notcutts' Nick Burrows said: "All at Notcutts are greatly saddened by Peter Seabrook’s death. There is no question that he will be greatly missed by the whole sector. He was a man of great wisdom and fortitude with such a depth of knowledge. What a true ambassador, standard bearer and gentleman we have lost.  His legacy will live on for many decades to come and we should all be grateful to be in a horticultural world so enriched by his extraordinary contribution."


Alton Garden Centre's Andy Bunker said: "Peter was one of those people you just listened to and learned every time we met with his hands on experience he knew the answer but always had an ear for your opinion.


"Living local, I had been to his house on various occasions taking things like the outdoor orchid for him to give me his expert opinion on so I could pass on to my customers.


"Passing Hyde Hall every day I would see his car driving out after another full day of trialling and putting his ideas in to practice.


"Like us all I will miss him sadly and will struggle to replace that phone call to someone who knows or has an opinion."


Neil Gow said: "He will be a loss to the industry, and to some of us more than others, both personally and work wise, including of course the David Colegrave Foundation."


Elsoms' David Coop said: "I’ve known Peter all my working life, and found him to be always incredibly supportive and enthusiastic about whatever new product, trial, idea or visit we were discussing. He loved helping to spread new ideas and innovations, and could always see the advantages and possibilities for us gardeners. He relished a good discussion and was happy to point out potential improvements. Peter’s views weren’t always fashionable or well-received by our industry, but he argued his points well and always had our industry and gardeners’ best interests in mind.


"I was very pleased to welcome Peter to our Elsoms Open Day events in recent years, and was frankly astonished at his stamina. After having driven all the way from home to arrive bright and early, he then spend every moment possible out in the trials plots asking everyone questions about benefits and performance. He recorded many podcasts, took numerous photos, dug-up, tasted and compared endless varieties, talked to most of the other attendees, and was the last person to leave at the end of the day. After this he wrote-up some lovely articles, polished and broadcast his podcasts, updated social media and even sent a personal thank-you note. A true, hard-working professional."


Iain Wylie, Garden Centre Association chief executive, said: “We were very shocked and deeply saddened to hear the news of Peter Seabrook’s passing last Friday (January 14, 2022).


“He was a huge supporter of garden centres and an integral member of our industry. Peter was in at the very beginning when our organisation was formed and has supported us throughout. He will be sorely missed.


“Peter played a big part in the early days of the GCA and was an Honorary Member. He attended our conferences and kept very much in touch with all that was going on with our organisation and the industry.


“He visited member centres and was keen to share best practice. He also spoke up for us on many issues on a national level and we were very proud to have him on our side.”


Retired seedsman Anthony Andrews said: "It came as a great shock to learn of Peter Seabrook’s sudden death on Friday, especially as we had been talking and emailing each other during the week.


"Peter and I go back fifty years to the time when he used to call in at Hurst’s trial grounds near Kelvedon to ‘borrow’ live plants to use in one of his many activities. In fact, the last BBC Gardeners' World he presented was filmed there in October 1979.


"His experience and knowledge in horticulture was second to none and yet he was always keen to lean something new.  He was one of the very few horticultural journalists that could converse just as well with the commercial growers sector of our industry as well as the retail sector and hobby gardeners.


"In recent years he has been doing so much to involve young people in schools to get their ‘fingers muddy’ and experience the joy and wonders of gardening. Over the years he had become a close friend to myself and my family. The industry will be poorer for his death. Our thoughts go out to his immediate family and colleagues on their sad loss."  

                                                                                                                                      Broadcaster Marian Foster said: "I was shocked to hear the sad news of Peter’s sudden death. I first worked with Peter in 1975 as co presenter on BBC’s Pebble Mill at One show where he broadcast a live slot every Friday afternoon. He was always a joy to work with, fun, kind, totally professional, he soon had millions of fans who loved his jovial chuckle, friendliness, and prodigious knowledge of gardening. 


We broadcast together from the RHS Chelsea show in the 1970s where he won silver gilt medals for a display of radishes grown by school children, and the following year for a replica of his DIG THIS vegetable garden project.  It was developed in the Pebble Mill garden to prove how well you could feed a family of four from a 10’x14’ plot spending only an hour’s work a week and £1worth of seeds. Thousands of viewers wrote in for factsheets every week and his 'Dig This' booklets sold over a million.   


In recent years I always looked forward to meeting him at horticultural events and greatly valued his advice and support. He never changed, he was always full of boundless energy and knowledge. His enthusiasm for life was infectious and an inspiration to young and old. He greatly deserved all the awards and accolades he received.   I will miss him. RIP Peter. My condolences to his family."


Moles Seeds' Stuart Donders said: "We were greatly saddened to here of the loss of Peter. He was a great champion of Horticulture, particularly flowers and colour. He had  great energy and passion which we can all aspire to. He will be sorely missed."

Floreus Horticultural Consultancy's Malcolm Catlin said: "I was shocked to hear of Peter’s sudden death. Endlessly supportive, hungry for more knowledge, eager to share his own and, above all, to promote the joy of plants and gardening. Just before Christmas we discussed a subject on which we didn’t fully agree, but he still offered to give up a day this spring to debate further. RIP Peter."


Professor Geoff Dixon said: "Sad to see his passing, he'll go down as one of horticulture and gardening's great personalities - that about sums him up."

Rolawn's Terry Ryan said: "Throughout my time at Rolawn, Peter was always a pleasure to deal with. Never demanding, ever courteous and immensley knowledgeable. A true gentleman."


ProLawnCare's Richard Salmon said: "Peter was a well liked, approachable and incredibly enthusiastic man. A great loss to his family and the horticultural industry."


PTMD's Lolly Lee said: "Peter was a very kind and generous man. I had the honour of working with him on one of his many projects encouraging teenagers into the wonders of propagating a seed into a beautiful plant. The project was in Kidbrooke London, I recall his patience and enthusiasm. I also echo what others have written, he was a complete gentleman. I was very fortunate to bump into him at Chelsea Flower Show last year and as ever he was lovely. A very sad loss to the gardening world but his Legacy is all the people that he had introduced to gardening which I’m sure would make him very happy."


Horticulturist Howard Drury said: "Peter’s death has come as a huge shock to as many of us who had got to know and love him and understand how he had helped and advised us over many years, and I whole heartedly support all the most moving tributes to this fantastic man. I was literally writing a long article about Peters view on the Peat issue when this tragedy happened.  I would like to add a couple of extra tributes not mentioned so far. Firstly, he had a fantastic sense of humour, even if others around him were down, there was always a good way out of a problem, and it would be Peters way.


"Many years ago, most of the gardening press were gathered in Ipswich at a seed company’s press day to hear about the 42 new flower introductions and 16 new vegetable introductions. After a lively coffee and chat we were ushered into a very posh room and all the lights were dimmed as speaker after speaker reeled off why we should be growing these new introductions next year. Last came the vegetables, with so many reasons why we should grow and eat carrots, we were then informed the lights would be put on so we could see and taste the various carrots. As this was taking place the speaker asked for questions. From the back of the room armed with his notebook Peter stood up and was asked for his question to which he asked, ‘If you are right about the carrots being so good for our eyesight why didn’t you give us the carrots first before the presentation, that way I would have been able to see what I was writing in the dark!’ before as always asking the right important questions.


"Secondly was Peter's standards, he always wore a floral tie, wherever I met him we both would be wearing a floral tie, and this goes back to the early 1980’s. Only last September Peter came over to me at GLEE and remarked we were keeping the standards up waving his tie, while asking me to give a talk to his local gardening club in September 2022, offering to put me and my wife up for the night after the talk. I shall give that talk in September thinking Peter will be there listening to my every word and watching my presentation with me wearing my floral tie, which I will always continue to do in his memory."


Rosebourne marketing manager Gill Ormrod said: "Such sad news and a huge loss to the industry. So passionate about horticulture and generous in sharing his knowledge to all. A real horticultural legend. RIP Peter - you will be greatly missed."


Publisher Seamus Geoghegan said: "He will be missed by all of us lucky enough to have worked with him but through the sadness we will celebrate him too."


Aeroplas's Rob Boswijk said: "He was a great friend to our industry and to my family. RIP Peter."


Z Flowers Philip Smith said: "A great man with a passion & voice for the Horticulural indstry Peter will be sadly missed."


Wendy Curtis said: "So sad. I met Peter at last year’s Chelsea. We had a chat and when I told him what I did he shoke my hand . What a gentleman."


Anke Buehrmann said: "That's so sad. Peter was such a lovely, special person and did so much for horticulture. He wrote a sympathetic heartfelt letter when my husband died last year and I was going to contact Peter to ask him about a project to motivate younger people to choose horticulture as a career. I hope there is a place like heaven and Peter can be together with Margaret again."


Four Oaks' Christina Walker said: "I was so very sorry to hear the sad news of Peter’s passing. The flood of heartfelt tributes to him are fitting for an extremely special individual who touched so many lives."


(C) Horticulture Week 2022, reproduced to show how Peter was loved by everyone, no infridgment meant.

Image is designed and maintained by Darren Hodson © 2022, The Drurys