Geoffrey Smith

by Adam Pasco

I was deeply saddened to hear news that the gardening legend Geoffrey Smith died on Friday.

Geoffrey SmithI was deeply saddened to hear news that the gardening legend Geoffrey Smith died on Friday, aged 80. Geoffrey suffered a stroke last year, and after being in hospital for several months his family was hoping to care for him at home.

Geoffrey was my gardening inspiration. As a youngster, simply watching and listening to him speak opened my eyes to the wonder of gardening, filling me with energy to get out and get stuck in.

His enthusiasm was infectious. His smile and voice captivating. I could hardly restrain myself long enough to watch until the end of a programme before rushing out into my own garden. What a wonderful gift that man had, a born communicator who loved sharing his passion with others.

When I was studying for my degree in horticulture, I remember sitting with a group of friends in a student bedroom watching Geoffrey on television. So, 'growing your own' is the latest gardening trend, is it? Well Geoffrey was certainly inspiring the nation with Mr Smith's Vegetable Plot in the 1970's, providing the foundation for today's trend perhaps. What an education he provided for me and millions of others.

Little did I ever think that one day I'd actually meet this god of gardening, but I've worked with him many times over the years. Geoffrey featured on the front cover of the very first issue of Gardeners' World Magazine back in March 1991 and wrote a wildlife gardening column for us for many years.

I've fond memories of visiting his garden near Harrogate to take pictures for the magazine, and of taking a brisk walk through the Yorkshire countryside, a part of the world he loved.

Viewers will recall the many years Geoffrey was a presenter on Gardeners' World, as well as his unique TV series Mr Smith's World of Flowers. Despite hating staying away from home in hotel rooms he joined us at the NEC for Gardeners' World Live, charming the socks off packed audiences.

As a regular contributer to Gardeners' Question Time, Geoffrey offered down-to-earth, practical and trustworthy advice to the audience. He joined the GQT team in 1983 and remained a valuable panellist for some 15 years. His producer Trevor Taylor says: "he was a giant of horticultural broadcasting. He was an absolute mine of information, had a great wit, and his poetic turn of phrase made him one of gardening's great broadcasters." Oh how true.

I can still hear his voice offering words of wisdom to me when I'm pottering about in my own garden. I wouldn't be speaking of out of turn when I say that very few gardening experts and television presenters today have reached his level of expertise. Geoffrey was greatly admired and respected, much loved, and will be very sadly missed.

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Gardeners' World Web User 02/03/2009 at 19:59

me to, ive watched many a program and got alot of knowledge from him may his memory go on forever and stay in our hearts

Gardeners' World Web User 02/03/2009 at 21:13

I can remember watching Geoffrey with my Grandparents on Gardeners World. I am sure he inspired many a new gardener. He was always so enthusiastic.

Gardeners' World Web User 03/03/2009 at 13:28

He is star of the garden world that loved his plants and you could tell from his shows. He one of the older gardeners that did not show off to the camera, but showed his love of plants. We need more like him that show the world the love and need for plants. I was sad to here this news a wish any of his family good wishes in this sad time for the people here on this world. He will be great gardener for gods world with Geoff Hamilton. what great garden they would make together with the others. All the love & light.

Gardeners' World Web User 03/03/2009 at 15:40

Very sad to hear of Geoffrey Smith's death. I remember watching him on TV in the late 70's and early 80's with my dad who was also a keen veg. gardener . I recently bought a couple of his books Mr Smith's Vegetable garden (and Fruit Garden) - they are packed with useful information still relevant now, instead of full of glossy colour photos. I vaguely remember a series he made in the mid seventies from an allotment in Wythenshawe, Manchester. Wouldn't it be great if the BBC would either repeat his programmes or release them on DVD!

Gardeners' World Web User 03/03/2009 at 16:59

geoffrey smith inspired me to garden, he was always exciting, cheerful and as a youngster he was different, Gardening was for everyone not just my dad, from novice to expert it was for all. To enjoy gardening was for him and his audiance all that mattered, yes you were encourage to try new things and yes you will make mistakes, but have a go. I have been gardening in my small garden for nearly 40 years, never an expert but always happy with the veg and flowers, and many of the many things he did and the way he did them have stayed with me all this time, as does Mr Smith veg Garden sadley going to be missed but not forgotten. Colin Howard Runcorn

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