Deceased, June 12, 2006: Sir Peter Henry Berry Otway Smithers

Peter Smithers Dies at 92; Spy With a Green Thumb - New York Times:
Sir Peter Smithers, who saw his work as a lawyer, politician, diplomat, scholar, photographer and spy as distractions from his passion for growing glorious gardens, died on June 8 in Vico Morcote, Switzerland. He was 92.
As a spy in World War II, he worked for Ian Fleming, who went on to create the fictional spy James Bond ...
Arguably, though, Sir Peter was to gardening what Bond was to martinis. The Royal Horticulture Society gave him one of its highest awards, the Gold Veitch Memorial Medal. His garden in Switzerland — with 10,000 plants, none a duplicate — won a prize for being the best in that country in 2001. The Financial Times said it was named one of the 500 greatest gardens since Roman times.
Peter Henry Berry Otway Smithers was born in Yorkshire on Dec. 9, 1913. He grew up hanging around potting sheds, spending spare change on plants. His nanny was a fervent naturalist who fed him fried blackbird eggs and hedge trimmings.

At 13, he persuaded the Royal Horticultural Society to let him attend the Chelsea Flower Show, the first child to do so, The Guardian said. At his public school, Harrow, he began an index of every plant and seed packet he acquired; it grew to 32,000 entries by his death.

- Peter Smithers Dies at 92; Spy With a Green Thumb, New York Times, June 25, 2006 (subscription required)
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