Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Gardening Community Loses Legend

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Gardening Community Loses Legend

Article excerpt

IT WAS with sadness that I learnt last Tuesday of the death of Australian gardening legend Colin Campbell.

Colin was a regular visitor to Toowoomba and was well known to many Darling Downs gardeners as a long running presenter on the ABC's Gardening Australia.

No doubt many of you would have met him at a gardening show or two at some point in the last thirty years, but for those who didn't get an opportunity to talk to him in person, let me assure you that Col was more than a great gardener Co he was also an absolutely first-class bloke.

I had the privilege of working with Col at various events over the last five years, and found that in spite of his immense knowledge of horticulture, he was one of the most down to earth people I've ever met.

Col always brought a light touch thanks to his cheeky sense of humour, and importantly, he had a real passion for finding ways to bring gardening to the masses.

Various plants have been named in his honour and in 2007 he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for services to horticulture.

Col deserved all the accolades that came his way. But accolades don't endear people to each other. Encouragement does.

While manning the Plant Clinic together during a quiet afternoon at Toowoomba Gardenfest in 2009, Col asked how I got into gardening.

I talked on about my Pa's market garden, my Mum's enthusiasm for gardening and my own love for the natural world. It was a rambling answer, but Col listened patiently, then encouraged me with some words I'll never forget: C[pounds sterling]Keep up the good work, young fellaC[yen].

During the same event he made a point of saying hello to my kids, who were excited to shake hands with someone they'd seen on the telly almost every Saturday night.

My career in gardening has been convoluted to say the least.

I left school wanting to be a novelist, completed a degree majoring in psychology (with English literature and history as minors), partially completed qualifications in teaching and graphic design, but I have no formal training in horticulture.

I'm basically a self-taught amateur who gardens primarily for love, with money as a secondary consideration. …

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