Jennifer StackhouseVale Shirley Stackhouse

Sydney’s best-loved gardening personality, Shirley Stackhouse, died on March 4 aged 92. She passed away peacefully after a short illness.

Shirley Stackhouse was The Sydney Morning Herald gardening contributor for more than 30 years taking over in the late 1960s from ‘Waratah’. As well as writing gardening advice, she also illustrated the column with her pen and ink drawings of flowers from her garden.


Shirley Stackhouse


She always cited her most exciting moment writing for the Herald as the report she sent ‘from our gardening correspondent in Chile’ when she was on the ground at the time of General Augusto Pinochet’s September 11, 1973 coup.


Radio 2UE

She was also well known to gardeners for her top-rating weekend gardening show, ‘Over the Fence’, on Radio 2UE. She helped gardeners solve their gardening problems for almost two decades with co-host Phil Haldeman.

Listen to a tribute to Shirley Stackhouse when she retired from 2UE


She was the author of many gardening books, including Shirley Stackhouse’s Gardening Year, republished in 2008 as My Gardening Year. She was also gardening columnist for Woman’s Day and New Idea over many years.

Shirley grew up in Brisbane learning her love of gardening from her mother and grandfather, who had a rose nursery. In 2005 she received an Order of Australia medal for services to gardening.

She is survived by her four children: Jennifer, Peter, Katie and Geoffrey; and by her five grandchildren.

Her husband, aviation and defence journalist and editor, John Stackhouse, died in 2019.


The funeral service for Shirley Stackhouse was held in the North Chapel at Northern Suburbs Memorial Gardens and Crematorium in North Ryde on Wednesday, March 11.



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Jennifer Stackhouse

About Jennifer Stackhouse

Recently Jennifer Stackhouse made the big move from Kurmond in NSW to a Federation house in the little village of Barrington tucked beneath Mt Roland in northwest Tasmania. With high rainfall, rich, red deep soil and a mild climate she reckons she's won the gardening lottery. She's taken on an acre garden that's been lovingly planted and tended for the past 28 years by a pair of keen gardeners so she is discovering a garden full of horticultural treasures. Jennifer is the author of several gardening books including 'Garden', which won a Book Laurel for 2013, as well as ‘The Organic Guide to Edible Gardens’, ‘Planting Techniques’ and ‘My Gardening Year’, which she wrote with her mother Shirley. She was editor of ABC 'Gardening Australia' magazine and now edits the trade journal 'Greenworld' magazine and writes regularly for the Saturday magazine in 'The Mercury'. She is often heard on radio and at garden shows answering garden queries.

7 thoughts on “Vale Shirley Stackhouse

  1. Dear Jennifer
    Sending my condolences to you and your family at the passing of wonderful Shirley.
    Lots of love from a gardening fan x

  2. So sad to hear about Shirley.I listened to her for many years on the radio.What a lovely lady she was with such a wealth of knowledge of plants.My condolences to all her family,friends and fellow listeners.R.I.P. Kind Regards Linda

  3. I’m so sorry to hear of Shirl’s passing. So many memories of listening to Shirley and Phil on the radio as a child. RIP

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