Jim Saunt: Norfolk gardener enthused others

A leading Norfolk gardener and author, Jim Saunt, who helped to raise thousands for charities and good causes, has died suddenly aged 76.

His one-acre garden at Plovers Hill, Strumpshaw, has opened in aid of the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) since 2002.

A former assistant county organiser for the scheme, he encouraged garden owners to open for charity and shared his extensive knowledge about plants with visitors.

The garden was his pride and joy, especially his perfect lawn, which featured in many magazines including Amateur Gardening. He also contributed to the BBC Gardeners' question time quiz over the years.

Mr Saunt, who was an agronomist or crop adviser, had moved to Strumpshaw in 1991.

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His knowledge as a citriculturist, acquired while helping South African farmers, was valued by fellow enthusiasts. He was the author of a book, Citrus Varieties of the World.

Norfolk NGS county organiser Fiona Black said: 'Jim shall be missed dearly by the garden scheme. He had a real commitment to finding new gardens of the quality and character required. He also provided friendly advice to the garden owners to help achieve this.'

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While his widow will continue as NGS assistant county organiser, their garden will no longer open for the scheme.

His younger daughter, Deborah, who is an architect, designed an award-winning orangery for their home, which was featured by Channel 4 several years ago.

Mr Saunt was a founder member and staunch supporter of the Strumpshaw & District Association, which met regularly, and was a backbone of the community.

He leaves a widow, Jan, three children, Catherine, Deborah and Michael, and four grandchildren.

A funeral service was held on November 24 at St Faith's Crematorium.

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