Buczacki grew up in Duffield, Derbyshire, where he was educated at The Ecclesbourne School, he gained a first-class honours degree in botany at Southampton University, and a D.Phil. in forest science at Linacre College, Oxford University, before starting a career in research for the Agricultural Research Council at the National Vegetable Research Station at Wellesbourne, Warwickshire. As a plant pathologist he worked on the biology and control of a species of Phytomyxea, Plasmodiophora brassicae, the cause of clubroot disease. He became a freelance author and broadcaster in 1984. He lives in Stratford-upon-Avon.
His broadcasting work included twelve years as a panel member and then chairman of Gardeners' Question Time on BBC Radio 4, contributing to over six hundred consecutive editions. He devised and presented The Gardening Quiz, on BBC Radio 4 and Classic Gardening Forum on Classic FM. He has appeared frequently on British television embracing contributions to all five terrestrial channels, including Gardeners' World on BBC Two and a number of series on satellite and regional stations.
Buczacki is credited as Britain's second biggest selling gardening author, with about 50 books to his name on both gardening and natural history. His first book Collins Guide to the Pests, Diseases and Disorders of Garden Plants, written jointly with Dr Keith Harris, has remained the standard reference work for over thirty years, while his Fauna Britannica was an account of the entire wild animal life of the British Isles for which HRH the Prince of Wales wrote the Foreword. He also wrote Volume 102 Garden Natural History for Collins's New Naturalist series. He has written for a number of national newspapers and magazines.
Awards and distinctions
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Buczacki is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, a Chartered Biologist, a founder Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, and Honorary Professor of Plant Pathology at Liverpool John Moores University. He holds the Veitch Memorial Medal in gold of the Royal Horticultural Society. Buczacki is an authority on fungi and double past-President of the British Mycological Society and was awarded the Society's Benefactor's Medal. He was presented with the Garden Media Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. In 2012 he published Collins' Fungi Guide, the most comprehensive single volume illustrated field guide to British fungi ever written with around 2,500 species. He is a Fellow of CAB International, holds Honorary Doctorates from the University of Southampton and the University of Derby and in 2007 was installed as the first Honorary Fellow of Pershore College shortly before its merger with Warwickshire College. He also has an interest in modern British political history and is recognised internationally as an authority on Winston Churchill and his house at Chartwell, described in his book Churchill and Chartwell. In 2016 he published My darling Mr Asquith a biography of the Hon Venetia Stanley, intimate confidante of prime minister H H Asquith.
Buczacki has been an outspoken critic of makeover gardening programmes on television, arguing that it is more important to show people how to garden than to pretend to do it for them. In September 2011 he criticised the BBC radio programme Gardeners' Question Time for having 'lost its way'.
- "Birthdays". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media. 16 Oct 2014. p. 47.
- Zoosporic Plant Pathogen, Academic Press 1983
- Stefan Buczacki at CMM
- Gardeners' Question Time has lost the plot after 50 years as a national institution, says ex-host Stefan Buczacki. Daily Mail, 12 September 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2013.