Seabrook on ... a fitting memorial for Geoffrey Smith

A topic of conversation at Geoffrey Smith's funeral earlier this month was finding a suitable memorial to him for RHS Garden Harlow Carr. The large Baptist Church in Harrogate - Geoffrey's church for over 30 years - was packed for the moving service.

It was appropriate that morning sunshine filled the church, that lush green spaces in the approaches to Harrogate were awash with flowering Crocus and that Harlow Carr garden blazed with coloured-stem dogwoods, flowering Erica and hardy Cyclamen. Harlow Carr is, for me, Geoffrey's garden - he gave it everything he had in those formative years.

One suggestion was the erection of a pair of garden gates at a point he would have passed by many times within the garden; a good site would be in his beloved rock garden and scree, now part-hidden under a blanket of ivy.

This would mean a return to alpine rock gardening, one of Geoffrey's passions, to complete much-needed renovation of the area. Such things cost money but a possible source of revenue could be another one of his passions, Primula Harlow Carr hybrids. Seed collected from the stream side could be packeted under a "Harlow Carr Original" brand. Indeed, a seed breeder could select a range of the best-coloured plants to form a quality blend, which could carry a name such as "Geoffrey's Finest".

A display of such Harlow Carr-grown specials exhibited at the Chelsea, Hampton Court and Harrogate shows would generate a considerable sum from seed sales. Part of this could go to Geoffrey's Christian charity in Leeds, with the remainder used to finance additional staffing of the rock garden area.

Original Harlow Carr Primula packets could also be sold through the trade. There are Yorkshire volunteers who could collect the garden seed and one of our seed companies could work on the "Finest" selection.

This would surely be a perfect living memorial to one of our great gardeners who informed, inspired and entertained millions of us.


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