Wednesday, 29 December 2010

RIP Dennis Shaw

I read with sadness that Dennis Shaw, Jersey's well known and loved gardener, who for several years was the BBC Radio Jersey resident expert, has just died, on Christmas day. Dennis Shaw was one of the first gardening feature writers. I used to like his warm tones, as he gave advice on the BBC. I never thought he was a cockney though; his accent sounded more rural!

Jersey Plants Direct has this about him:

Dennis is a true cockney, (born within the sound of Bow bells) has resided in Jersey for 42 years and is one the island´s most popular gardening experts. Now retired from lecturing Horticulture at Jersey´s Highlands College, Dennis keeps himself busy with a weekly gardening chat show on BBC Radio Jersey, as a judge for both Britain in Bloom and the Royal Jersey Agriculture & Horticultural Society and of course tending his own garden. He has been writing articles and commenting on our plants and bedding since January 2007, and long may it continue! (1)

Dennis was still going strong this year, with tours of Jersey gardens. I'm not so sure that the "tax haven" bit in the following extract is correct though! I'd say it was probably truer that there are more gardens than perhaps urban areas in the UK, and they are usually well tended, which does not necessarily mean spending vast amounts of money on them. Perhaps "View from the West" can give the true picture!

The Channel Islands have the warmest climate of anywhere in the British Isles. This favours plant growth, but the strong winds cause damage. Because the Channel Islands are a tax haven, there is no shortage of money for garden maintenance. Brightwater Holidays offers a 4 night tour of the Private Gardens of Jersey, led by the garden correspondent for BBC Radio Jersey - Dennis Shaw. The tour departs on 14th June 2010 (2)

Reg's Garden also has this to say: "Dennis Shaw, Jersey's gardening guru uses the garden on occasions when `keen gardeners` come over to see what Jersey has to offer in the way of gardens."

Dennis Shaw will be missed. I still remember his distinctive voice, talking of autumn, and quoting Keats - surely a gardeners poem, if ever there was one:

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.



martin said...

It is with great sadness that I read here of the death of Dennis Shaw. In the mid sixties to early seventies Dennis was an inspiration to us aspiring young horticulturists as he encouraged and guided us through the early years of our chosen career.He remained a good friend down the years and will be sadly missed.
Martin Bourke (garden scene nursery)

Sally Healy said...

Dear all,

Please keep your comments coming and spread the word. We are all very proud of what Dad (Denis Shaw)achieved in his life and the many lives that he helped and inspired through his teaching and talks during his life, and it is lovely and comforting to read these comments.

Please say a prayer for us tomorrow and God Bless you all. Thanks, Sally Healy (Daughter) xx

Sally Healy said...

Dear all,

Please keep your comments coming in about Dad (Denis Shaw) as all the family take great pride and are very proud of what he achieved in his life. How he inspired and helped people from all walks of life.

He will be sorely missed by us all especially his 9 grandchildren, when nothing was too much trouble as far as Grandad was concerned.

Please say a prayer for us tomorrwo and may God Bless you all.

Thank you, Stella, Deborah, Brian, Sally & Linda (Denis's wife and children). xxxxx

TonyTheProf said...

Please accept my sympathy Sally. I loved listening to Dennis advice. If you want a fuller obituary to appear here, just post it as a comment, and I will put it up as a guest posting.

Deborah Robinson said...

Thanks to all who attended Dad's funeral service on 4th January. So many people there, lovely tributes paid and many positive words said about Dad. We will miss him so much, but knowing that he has influenced many people on Jersey and throughout the Horticultural & Agricultural industry here and in the UK makes us feel hugely proud of him and his achievements. Thank you to one and all
Deborah (Denis's eldest daughter)