Television gardener Percy Thrower, one of gardenings greatest and best-loved figures, would have been 100 this month – and an MP is calling for his contribution to be formally recognised.
In a birthday Early Day Motion Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski called on the House of Commons to recognise his ‘contribution to national life through horticulture, gardening, broadcasting, and journalism’.”
Percy’s daughter, Margaret, who lives near Shrewsbury, said: “We have nothing really organised as a family and we will reflect quietly to ourselves, not so much on the passing of a horticulturalist, but on the passing of gardeners of a certain age. The name Percy Thrower takes us back to the springtime of our green-fingered endeavours. In a career as a presenter that began in the days of black and white TV, his twinkling affability and lightly worn expertise established a style that, as we reach the centenary of his birth, is still followed by his successors – even if the programmes themselves have changed markedly.
From 1955 Percy presented Gardening Club, the first regular TV programme devoted to the craft. It was strictly practical, devoid of the glitz and glamour of its modern successors.
The first TV garden was created in a studio in a former wrestling arena on the outskirts of Birmingham. It was a pop-up garden: the studio had to be used for other programmes, so after every show the greenhouse and potting shed were dismantled and soil shifted. Early TV cameras did not perform well through glass, so the greenhouse frames had no panes. Once, Percy gave the game away when the door jammed and he put his hand through to open it from the other side.
Percy Thrower once a household name and the forerunner of Alan Titchmarsh and Charlie Dimmock certainly receives our backing for a formal recognition for his contribution to gardening
Author: Robert Smith