Percy Thrower’s Symbol of Peace Lives On

Percy Thrower, well known throughout the gardening world for his wonderfully warm personality and television talents, proves that legacies do live on and sometimes in the most unlikely of places.

Although he is widely recognised for his connections to the Shrewsbury Flower Show, a lesser known fact of Percy is his part in the creation of Berlin’s Peace Garden, which still thrives to this day.

Even before his successful television career as BBC’s gardening guru, Percy was an active advocate and campaigner of all things horticultural, both on a local and national level. Less well known however is his international influence, helping to nurture relations with Germany only six years after World War II.
Travelling to Berlin with the RAF in the spring of 1952, having never flown before and never wishing to again, Percy helped design and develop the Peace Garden, also known as the English Garden, which is located in the Tiergarten area of the city.

With the help of the Shropshire Horticultural Society, the garden was planted thanks to the kindness and generosity of Percy but also a great number of regular exhibitors at the Shrewsbury Flower Show.

The plans and designs were also viewed by Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth on her visit to Shrewsbury before the garden was created. As a result of this she instructed that trees and shrubs from the Royal Gardens in Buckingham Palace, Windsor and Sandringham be included in the designs.

Through these generous donations of plants, shrubs, trees and flowers, the late, great gardener was able to transport this horticultural cargo via an entire fleet of army lorries, then let his creativity blossom in Berlin creating a fantastic feature in the capital’s municipal park.

Speaking about Percy, Donna Hamer Shrewsbury Flower Show Chairman said: “It is fantastic that his memory still lives on, not just in Shrewsbury but on the Continent as well. As the Flower Show is approaching for another year, it will be a great chance to remember all his good work and fantastic contributions to horticulture.”

As Shrewsbury Quarry Park superintendent from 1946 to 1974 and Horticultural Advisor to Shrewsbury Flower Show for over 40 years, Percy Thrower is one of the town’s most treasured and well known figures.

Remarkably, over sixty years later his legacy continues and the garden is still enjoyed by many Berliners and tourists to this very day – a symbol of peace in which was then a war torn country.

For information and tickets for this year’s Shrewsbury Flower Show please call 01743 234050 or visit www.shrewsburyflowershow.org.uk.
 

Pete White Pete White

Love Shrewsbury editor and chief developer at The Web Orchard, find out more on petejwhite.com

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