Stan Jackson with his Queen of Hearts tomatoes
LAST week, the Island lost two great gardening characters within hours of each other.
The indomitable Peggy Jarman, who was 91, still had a shared allotment at Sandlands when she died.
It was Peggy who single-handedly kept Wight in Bloom alive when it looked doomed and she still served as a Nettlestone and Seaview parish councillor.
If you can carry vigour and passion into your 90s you are fortunate indeed and Peggy did so — in spades.
Stan Jackson has also died at the age of 94.
Stan was the creator of the Queen of Hearts tomato, which the Island collectively took to its heart thanks to his efforts both in creating it and sharing its seed so generously and without reward.
It was the tomato he spent years hybridising to get that distinctive heart shape and thin skin as tribute to the love of his wife.
Stan was never in the most robust health after war scorched his lungs and I always appreciated the effort he made to get on the bus at Northwood and come to the County Press office in Newport, especially in more recent times as his health declined still further.
He never wanted to be a nuisance, always appreciated I was busy but was keen to keep me informed and it was a delight to see him and to benefit from his encyclopaedic knowledge.
It was lovely his family took the time to tell me of his death and in the care home, where he spent his final days, he had been able to cultivate his beloved tomatoes.
I’m glad they had one more season in Stan’s sun.