Gardening personality Eion Scarrow dead

Gardening personality Eion Scarrow with his wife Ann.
Fairfax NZ
Gardening personality Eion Scarrow with his wife Ann.

Veteran gardening personality Eion Scarrow has died at the age of 81.

His family said he died "peacefully in his bed" in a rest home on Anzac Day with Ann, his wife of 21 years, at his side.

Scarrow had a passion for gardening, and was probably best known as the host of gardening show Dig This, from 1972-1986.

He also presented gardening programmes on radio for 30 years, wrote columns for several publications and took garden tours to 90 countries as well as writing a total of 24 books.

Although in recent years Scarrow had suffered a number of health issues including prostate cancer and had several heart surgeries, Ann Scarrow said he never lost his love for plants.

"Even when I would visit him in the rest home, he would still be asking how the garden was looking, and asking me how I was managing it.

"He'd say 'oh no, you have to do it this way,'" she said.

"He just loved gardening, and I think he enjoyed getting everybody into gardening."

She said he was gardening and propagating (creating new plants) right up until he went into Aparangi Rest Home in January this year.

A family friend, who did not wish to be named, said he would always enjoy helping people who sought out his gardening advice at their local market.

"He was a very friendly chap, and he had a huge heart. He loved teaching children about gardening as well."

Ann said the family "dearly missed him", but he had been in pain so his death was also a blessing.

Scarrow leaves behind Ann, four adult children and three adult step-children, 13 grandchildren and one great grandson.

His funeral will be held on Tuesday.