Geoffrey Smith

by Pippa Greenwood

His description of freshly picked pears and how the juice dribbled down his chin is legendary, and better than most arguments for growing your own fruit!

Geoffrey SmithI suppose I am very, very lucky to have known Geoffrey Smith and worked with him, but right now I just feel sad. Somthing is now missing for me, and indeed I know for many millions of us. Gardening has lost its Head Gardener.

Geoffrey was better than any gardening book or programme ever written or that you could ever hope to come across. Sitting next to him and listening to him talk when we were recording Gardeners' Question Time together was like being in a horticultural dream, with humour as an added ingredient. He could make anything and everything horticultural come to life and he could make me cry laughing. His description of freshly picked pears and how the juice dribbled down his chin is legendary, and better than most arguments for growing your own fruit!

I have never believed that any one person knows everything about any one subject, but Geoffrey got as close as it is humanly possible to get, but with self-effacing, genuine charm and charisma too. But he was also delighted to find out about anything that he did not know - out of all the occasions I worked with him I was only able to enlighten him once, and it was about gladiolus thrips!

When he was telling me about something I didn't know, he had the ability to do so in a way that made me feel not in the slightest bit embarrassed that I was in need of educating. He was something special in the world of gardening.

Geoffrey was also an amazingly clever soul in so many other ways - on more than one occasion he acted not just as a horticultural mentor to me, but also as the perfect sounding board for ideas and problems. He could also calm me down when I was angry or indignant, or cheer me up when things were not quite as they should be. He often advised me on what I should do, and what not, and often gave me wise words on dealing with tricky situations and tricky people. I was glad to hear what he had to say, and took note, and I am not the best at taking advice! I was so lucky to know him.

When I announced I was pregnant with my first child, Geoffrey was so thrilled for my partner and I that at recordings he insisted on treating me more like fine china than the earthenware pot I really am! We named our son after Geoffrey, which was a decision I didn't make lightly, but then Geoffrey was and for me still is, someone very, very special. I'll miss him.

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Gardeners' World Web User 05/03/2009 at 15:40

sadly missed ,a true gentleman.i hope i have as much knowledge as he had and indeed as much warmth

Gardeners' World Web User 05/03/2009 at 18:13

I remember Geoffrey Smith demonstrating double digging. Amazingly, it was absolutely mesmerizing. I doubt whether any other gardener could have held one's attention for a moment let alone for the considerable time that he did. I shall miss him and his wonderful voice enormously.

Gardeners' World Web User 05/03/2009 at 18:57

What a lovely, warm person and such a great voice. He has gone to that place where tomatoes are always without blight.

Gardeners' World Web User 08/03/2009 at 14:54

I was so sorry to hear of the death of Geoffrey Smith. I loved to listen to him on the radio and television and enjoyed his comments and explanations and of course his humour. He was one of those brilliant people whose great knowledge made it possible for him to explain things very simply.

Gardeners' World Web User 10/03/2009 at 11:43

what a beautiful tribute, Pippa, I am really saddened you have lost such a great friend and mentor

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