PBS’s Victory Garden sure isn’t what it was, but whatever
respect it still commands among serious gardeners is largely due to the
reputation lent it by such former hosts as James Crockett, Roger Swain, and former
co-host Jim Wilson, who died Sunday at the fine age of 85. A native
Mississippian, Wilson spent 56 years in the horticultural industry, 10 of them on the air of VG. He also wrote several books, including Landscaping
with Wildflowers, Landscaping with Herbs, and Bulletproof Flowers for the
South. His most recent book is Homegrown
Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs: A Bountiful, Healthful Garden for Lean Times.
Notably, Wilson was also involved with Plant a Row for the
Hungry, GWA’s Jeff Lowenfels-founded program that encourages gardeners to
donate surplus vegetables to the local food bank.
To be honest, I don’t know as much about Wilson as many
garden writers who will see this—some of you knew him personally—and, as I’ve admitted before, I’m not much of
a vegetable grower. But to me, Wilson represents an earlier generation of
professional gardeners who gave direct, forthright information without needing
to look or act cute, or tie it up in a slick package. As he notes about vegetable gardening in his
introduction to Homegrown, “It won’t attempt to entertain you, but it will
I learned of this through the garden writers' listserv, via Jeff Lowenfels, but could find no obituary online. UPDATE: OK, here it is. Thanks, Nina!