Thrower is the unwitting father of the whole TV gardening genre
- and like most of his modern day successors, he was a gardener
first and being a TV personality was a rather distant second.
was 32 years old when he first set foot in Shrewsbury to take up
the job of Park Superintendent.
first job was controversial - to fell the lime trees lining the
avenue of The Quarry park - and didn't win him many friends in the
the issue could not be fudged and Percy made sure the job was done.
the war years the Dingle in the Quarry had fallen into a sad state,
and one of Percy's next tasks was to bring it back to life. Little
did he know that this small piece of ground would also launch his
30 year broadcasting career, too.
with his beloved fuchsias
day in 1947 a visitor walked into Quarry Lodge, at the entrance
to the park, and asked who was in charge of the Dingle, which by
now had become a floral paradise.
Percy replied that he was, the visitor introduced himself as Godfrey
Baseley, presenter of a radio programme called 'Beyond the Back
Door'. He asked Percy if he'd like to join him on the programme.
Percy, of course, accepted and the rest is history.
the next three decades Percy became a celebrity who was genuinely
loved by his audience. In 1962 he made the transition from radio
to television, eventually making Gardeners' World his own.
when he left the BBC (he wanted to do adverts for a gardening product)
he was still able to pass on his knowledge to children in the Blue
Thrower statue unveiled at the 2005 Shrewsbury Flower Show
Percy never let his broacasting commitments get in the way of his
work locally. He played a huge role in making the Shrewsbury Flower
Show the consistent success it has become - he was the show's horticultural
adviser for more than 40 years, as well as a former chairman.
also won a few show medals, most notably for his fuschias, which
drew big crowds at the show.
Percy was a media darling, being ambushed by Eamonn Andrews for
an edition of This is Your Life, and even appearing as a guest on
the Morecambe & Wise Show. He was awarded the MBE in 1984, and
had numerous awards from the Royal Horticultural Society.
also wrote numerous books, as well as starting his own garden centre(now
managed by his three daughters). Percy's name is also carried by
dozens of plant varieties, too.
despite all this fame and fortune, Percy remained down to earth
and, above all, approachable.
was always happy to dish out advice to any gardener who asked, and
could often be seen puffing away at his pipe behind the counter
at his garden centre, giving advice to anyone who had a few questions.
an interview with Radio Shropshire before his death in 1988, Percy
acknowledged that his success came from being down to earth, straightforward
and sincere, as well as keeping his feet on the ground.
was a rarity among famous Salopians, most of whom had moved away
from the area before winning fame.
at the height of his success he continued to throw himself into
his commitments in Shropshire, and he would go to great pains to
point out that all his various awards were for Shrewsbury people,