Longstanding Guild member Peter Rogers, editor of the horticultural trade magazine the Grower for more than 35 years, died in January. He was 77.
A journalist since leaving school, Peter’s first job was at the London publishing company George Newnes, where he worked on Practical Wireless. He left in 1967 to join the Grower, then a family-run business, as a sub-editor where he started to immerse himself in every aspect of commercial horticulture.
After a short break in the early 1980s, he returned to the magazine as editor, spending the rest of his career championing growers’ causes and raising the profile of an industry he often felt went unrecognised. Week in, week out, his incisive and influential editorials helped to give a focus to growers’ views during an era of massive political, technical and business change.
When the title was bought out in 1993, Peter remained at the helm to steer it through what was a turbulent period for the publication, helping to expand its remit to include, for example, the Grower of the Year awards which became a highlight in the industry’s calendar.
Alan Frampton, a former chairman of the title’s editorial advisory board, described Peter as “one of the industry’s great ambassadors, a great advocate and hugely popular with UK growers.”
“Peter was an exceptional journalist who used his position to promote and support UK horticulture in any way he could,” he said. “An individual of great integrity, he tackled issues that others would shy away from.
“He worked tirelessly to represent our views; it’s hard to think of any other who did so much for growers.”
In 2003 Peter received the Chartered Institute of Horticulture award, presented for his significant contribution to horticulture and held by only 50 individuals at any one time. In the same year his services to horticultural journalism were acknowledged with an OBE.
He pursued a lot of interests in his spare time, among them amateur dramatics and flying microlights. He retired in 2004 after which he spent some time in Spain before settling on the South Coast.
Peter leaves his wife of 53 years, Gina, two sons and five grandchildren.