Tributes after the death of Suffolk gardening expert Ric Staines

Ric Staines shows allotment holders at Maidenhall how to shape a tree by pruning it correctly. File

Ric Staines shows allotment holders at Maidenhall how to shape a tree by pruning it correctly. File picture: JERRY TURNER

Suffolk gardening expert, writer and broadcaster Ric Staines has died – prompting tributes from people who knew and worked with him.

A professional horticulturalist, Mr Staines worked at Otley College for many years teaching students how to grow crops and manage market gardens and small holdings.

But he was best known to the public for his newspaper columns in the EADT and Ipswich Evening Star and for his broadcasts on BBC Radio Suffolk for whom he was the gardening expert from its foundation in 1990.

As well as his work at Otley College he also ran his own business from Wenhaston, Ric Staines Gardening Solutions, and wrote a book about market gardening.

Although he worked mainly in Suffolk he also appeared on the BBC’s Gardeners World with Chris Beardshaw, regional TV, BBC Radio 4 and worked with Monty Don and Jo Swift.

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He was President of Wenhaston Gardening Club and was always happy to give talks to gardening clubs across the county.

He had a long-term interest in organic gardening and also wrote about growing plants to be used for their medicinal properties.

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News of his death was greeted with sadness by the gardening and horticultural community in Suffolk.

He also worked with the ActivLives project in Ipswich on their ActivGardens schemes at Chantry Park Walled Garden and Maidenhall Allotments – training and giving tips to volunteers working on the projects which give people the chance to work together on growing produce and plants.

A spokesman for Easton and Otley College, where he worked with hundreds of students over the years, said: “Ric taught at the college for many years.

“Talking to colleagues, his knowledge and passion for gardening was outstanding. He was not only an Otley legend but a Suffolk legend. He will be missed by many and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”

A former student, Dr Diane Keeble-Ramsay, said he had helped her to get her doctorate and added: “I worked with Ric for 10 years and he was a great pal of my late mother, Dorothy – much laughter was had in the staff room where he was always great fun and our very own Alan Titchmarsh.”

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