Horticulture industry celebrates Peter Seabrook's 60 year anniversary

Gardening and journalism figures have paid tribute to Peter Seabrook as he celebrated 50 years in horticultural journalism and 60 years in the industry.

Gordon Rae, Peter Seabrook and Kelvin McKenzie
Gordon Rae, Peter Seabrook and Kelvin McKenzie

More than 100 horticulturists met at the RHS Shades of Autumn show at Lawrence Hall in London as The Sun gardening editor and Horticulture Week and Amateur Gardening columnist, Peter Seabrook, celebrated a lifetime in horticulture.

Former The Sun editor Kelvin McKenzie told the guests that Seabrook is "one of the greats of The Sun".

McKenzie joked that Seabrook was the only Sun staff member who believed in gardening and said he had written him a letter in 1985 accusing Seabrook of a lack of effort, adding: "Thirty years later I'm pushing a broom outside Tesco and Peter Seabrook is still producing great gardening columns."

Former RHS director general Gordon Rae spoke of how he used Seabrook as a referee when applying for the RHS job in 1993.

Rae spoke of Seabrook's career at Bord na Mona, and his meeting with Colin Squire, Charles Notcutt, Jeffrey Bernhard and others at a 1962 HTA committee meeting which paved the way for garden centre development by discussing container planting.

He also spoke of Seabrook's international media career and described him as "an ideas man who makes things happen" and one of the few who has successfully bridged amateur and professional horticulture.

Rae added that the industry was far more advanced now than in 1954, with crop yields up, cheap orchids, allotments in fashion and the RHS having 10 times the membership it had then, with it now at 420,000.

Seabrook said he had survived McKenzie's "grenade management" and had been fortunate to work with some of the world's finest journalists.

He thanked old employers Frank Hardy, Michael Oliver and the Anglia Group, as well as current media employers and his family.

Seabrook talked of the advances made in the industry so plants grow more easily now and called on the industry to back youth.

He concluded: "That's our business. We give pleasure and inspiration."

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