W. E. Shewell-Cooper
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Dr. Wilfred Edward Shewell-Cooper, M.B.E., N.D.H., F.L.S., F.R.S.L., F.R.H.S., Dip. Hort. (Wye) (1900–1982) was a British organic gardener and pioneer of no dig gardening. He was the author of Soil, Humus and Health (1975), The Royal Gardeners (1952), Grow your own food supply (1939), The ABC of Vegetable Gardening (1937) and many other books on gardening. He was the founder in 1966 of the Good Gardeners Association. For many years his gardens at Arkley Manor were open to the public so his no dig methods, symbolised by a robin resting on a spade handle, could be seen first hand.
He married Irene, with whom he wrote a cookery book Cook what you grow (1940). He had two sons Ramsay and Jeremy. His son Ramsay continues to promote his no-dig gardening approach, and a demonstration plot may be seen at Capel Manor College in Enfield in conjunction with the Good Gardeners' Association as of 2008.
He was born at Waltham Abbey, Essex in 1900 where his father was a major in the Royal Artillery and at the time the assistant superintendent of the gunpowder factory there. Moving from there to Blackheath then Penarth. Then before the outbreak of the first world war the family set sail on the Galaka for South Africa where they lived in Rondesbosch. While there he went to school at Diocesan College, Rondesbosch then to Monkton Combe School outside Bath in England.
In 1960 he moved to Arkley Manor, as recommended by Sir John Laing, which was to be his home for the rest of his life.
Over the course of his life, Shewell-Cooper held a number of positions, some of which are listed below:
- Fellow of the Horticultural Society of Vienna
- Director of The Horticultural Educational and Advisory Bureau
- Principal of the Horticultural Training Centre
- H. Superintendent of the Swnaley Horticultural College
- Horticultural advisor to the Warwickshire and Cheshire County Councils
- Garden editor of the B.B.C. North Region
- Command Horticultural Officer, S.E. and Eastern Commands 1940-48
His published works include:
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