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.
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.
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.