GTN January/February 2022 - Garden Trade News, UK

Page 8

Garden Centre Champions

Michael Cole, Garden Centre Consultant When I first started work at Notcutts in St.Albans in 1978, I used to go home for lunch and the first time I ‘encountered’ Peter was watching him on TV, gardening in the Pebble Mill at One garden. Through my career I got to meet Peter on many occasions and every time his passion for plants and our industry shone through. Peter was a true gentleman, and a fantastic advocate for the Horticultural Industry, he will be greatly missed.

The Bourne Family, Perrywood Garden Centre 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 fivehour 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.

I find this so difficult to write. What great times we had with you, Peter, building the first ever Sunflower Street Gardens at Wembley in 1993, Boston Massachusetts in 1994 (where we were swamped by your U.S. TV fans, ladies of a certain age) and then for the next three years at Chelsea. You were always on the lookout for every opportunity to promote gardening, particularly with children and came up with the best campaigns. You could be counted on to be a bit controversial at any GCA

conference but then lightened the mood by reading some of those delightful letters received from your public. That is all summed up by your passion and enthusiasm for the gardening industry and your boundless energy in whatever you were doing. Somehow you were able to continue like that even when you devoted more and more time to Margaret as her health deteriorated. Thank you for being such a gardening legend, a real supporter of Greenfingers and above all just being a lovely man. It was a privilege to know you.

en Roger Crookes, Gard nt ta ul ns Co Centre

man. We will miss this gentle wledge kno ge hu a Legend! with den gar the and n de gar of the ds of loa h wit d industry. Combine med see ays alw he m do humble wis , ne to have time for everyo Peter. including me. Thanks

Bid to continue Peter Seabrook's legacy and grow Floral Fantasia into a

Centre of Excellence

A fundraising bid aiming to secure the future of ‘Floral Fantasia’ at RHS Garden Hyde Hall, has been launched by a group who hope to continue and evolve the popular bedding display, developed in recent years by the late Peter Seabrook. Peter poured much time and energy into helping grow ‘Floral Fantasia’ over the past three years, into what is a spectacular showcase of seasonal UK bedding at the Chelmsford garden, and features colourful and diverse planting including Rudbeckia, Calendula and Sweet Pea, a favourite of Peter’s. His vision for Floral Fantasia, as a display area to inspire gardeners, a trial location to assess new varieties, and a facility for training and education in the use of seasonal ornamental plants, is part of Peter’s legacy to British horticulture. The RHS has confirmed its commitment to the project at Hyde Hall for the next three years when funding has been secured. Its plan for 2022 include a spring viola trial and an extensive trial of poppies as part of the ‘Year of the Poppy’ celebration, along with the usual planting of sweet peas and new variety demonstrations. Fundraising has been initiated to continue Peter’s legacy and a working group, formed during a meeting at Hyde Hall last week includes the following individuals: • Michael Smith (W. D. Smith & Son) (Chair) • Paul Hansord (Deputy Chair)

8 January / February 2022

Sue Allen, Millbrook Garden Co and Greenfingers Chairman

Listen to the Memoria l edition of Peters Podc ast; This week in the Gard en at: https://play.acast.com /s/ thisweekinthegarden/ memorial

• Ian Le Gros (RHS)( (Deputy Chair) • Robert Brett (RHS) • Tim Kerley (Kerley&Co) • Stuart Lowen (Ball Colegrave) • Molly Christman (RHS Floral Fantasia Apprentice) • Ian Bull (RHS) • Christine Woodhouse (RHS) This group will approach businesses and individuals for donations to support the long-term development of the 2000 m2 Floral Fantasia as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for seasonal plants and the use of colour in the landscape. As of 24 January 2022, a total of £19,000 per year has been pledged for the next three years, but significantly more is needed to secure ‘Floral Fantasia’ for that period. Simon Crawford, of Burpee Europe Ltd. writes “I have watched Peter Seabrook invest a huge amount of time and energy into Floral Fantasia over the last three years. It was definitely a passion for Peter and I hope we are able to come together as admirers of his work to ensure this legacy lives on for gardeners everywhere. • Any business or individual interested in making a donation can contact the ‘Floral Fantasia Working Group’ at: ianlegros@rhs.org.uk • For any other information, please contact michael@wdsmith.com

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