Page last updated at 15:20 GMT, Friday, 6 March 2009

Respects paid to gardener Smith

Geoffrey Smith: Photograph: Trevor Taylor
Geoffrey Smith joined Gardeners' Question Time in 1983

Hundreds of people have attended the funeral of the gardener, broadcaster and writer 80-year-old Geoffrey Smith in North Yorkshire.

The service was conducted at Harrogate Baptist Church.

Geoffrey Smith appeared on BBC Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time for 20 years and created Harlow Carr, one of the great gardens of England.

Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer said Mr Smith had a "wonderful blend of erudition, wit and warmth".

Mr Smith, said to be staunch Yorkshireman, worked with the golden rule: "Put the brown end in the soil, the green end above it, and you're in with a much better chance."

Some people go to the whisky bottle...I go into the garden
Geoffrey Smith

He was proud to grow plants in his home county that were thought unsuitable for a northern climate, saying it was a "confidence born of ignorance".

Mr Smith decided his life's work would be outdoors after a year at boarding school, where he felt "incarcerated" and had to leave. He trained with his father for six years, before going to horticultural college.

At the age of 26, he was made superintendent of the Royal Horticultural Society's garden at Harlow Carr, North Yorkshire, where he worked for 20 years.

Gardening, Mr Smith believed, put the world to rights.

"Some people go to the whisky bottle," he once said. "I go into the garden."

Gardeners' Question Time, on Sunday, will carry a tribute to Mr Smith with contributions from his fellow panellists together with some of his broadcast contributions.

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