Tribute to George Jones by Gail Thomas
George Samuel Jones 28.8.1919 - 7.10.2016
I knew George Jones for over thirty years, originally meeting him through our connection with the Geelong Botanic Gardens and the Horticultural Media Association.
George came to live in Geelong in the 1960’s and was an extremely modest man with an ever-obliging friendly disposition. A tireless worker, it was never about ‘George’ as his main priority was always to share his expertise in supporting and promoting Geelong, the horticultural industry and his beloved Geelong Botanic Gardens.
George was the inaugural president of the Friends of the Geelong Botanic Gardens which was formed in 1985. His commitment to the Gardens was reflected in his long standing work as a volunteer guide, along with guide training and involvement as a volunteer in the Gardens Tea House. He was also a member of the Steering Committee for the Conservation and Management Study of the Geelong Botanic Gardens and Eastern Park.
George’s first media writing contribution was for Your Garden magazine in 1952. He also prepared the Royal Horticultural Society of Vic journal page in Your Garden from July 1954. The Journal transferred and expanded to Australian Garden Lover in 1956 and George continued writing until 1964.
He provided notes on bulbs for daffodil and bulb section Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria from 1960-1968, was Hon Secretary of the editorial committee that produced The Gardener’s Show Guide for RHSV published in 1967 – contributed chapters on Organising the Show, and The Novice Exhibitor, also daffodil segment of Specialist Flowers. He wrote Have You Heard articles in Australian Garden Lover 1972-1980, articles which also appeared in Seed and Nursery Trader.
His diligent research of the history of the Geelong Botanic Gardens resulted in the publication in 1984 of his book, ‘Growing together’. This was followed by two updated supplementary volumes, and these works are included in many reference libraries including the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew UK, Library of the British Museum, Royal Horticultural Society London and the Library of Congress Washington USA.
Continuing research was published in the Friends of the Gardens Newsletter and the Geelong Historical Society’s ‘Investigator’. George was weekly garden columnist for the Geelong Advertiser writing more than one thousand articles in his ‘Garden Scene’ column between 1979-2000 along with contributions to ‘This Month in Geelong’ magazine from Aug 1992-April 2000 - always typed on his trusty Remington.
Judy Horton, Colin Campbell and George Jones Photo : Gail Thomas