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Oxfordshire life sparked newspaper columnist's passion for gardening
5:00pm Thursday 22nd August 2013 in News
A GARDENING writer and former columnist for The Oxford Times has died aged 76.
Elizabeth Seager became a keen gardener when she moved to a cottage in Oxfordshire with her husband.
She began the weekly column in 1990, under the pen-name of Dilly Halpin, and continued until 2005, when mastectomy operations curtailed her gardening and her writing.
She had also contributed articles to other magazines, such as Amateur Gardening and The Countryman, and in 1984 compiled an anthology of other people’s garden writing, Gardens and Gardeners, which was published by Oxford University Press.
Elizabeth James was born in Abergavenny, Wales, on January 23, 1937.
Her family moved around frequently but she did most of her growing up in Cornwall, which she considered to be her home.
When she left school she moved to London to work for the Foreign Office as a filing and records clerk for about three years.
She eventually ended up working for John Lewis as a publicity officer and editor of the staff magazine.
In 1958 she met her future husband, Stuart Seager, at a party in London and the couple married in Cornwall two years later. At the time Mr Seager was working for Autosport magazine.
Shortly after their marriage the couple moved to Oxfordshire when Mr Seager got a job working for MG in Abingdon on the owners’ magazine.
At first they lived in a flat in Abingdon but then moved, first to Combe and then to a cottage in East End, North Leigh, where they remained for 42 years.
It was at this point that she began dedicating herself to transforming her garden and became a passionate gardener.
Eventually, she began writing about gardening, working from home.
She would garden in the morning and then write in the afternoon almost every day, winter or summer.
Apart from being a devoted gardener, she also greatly enjoyed evenings of choral singing as a long-serving member of Woodstock Music Society, in which she made many friends in the alto section of the choir.
Elizabeth Seager died from breast cancer on July 15 and is survived by her husband Stuart, 85. The couple did not have any children.
A funeral service took place at Oxford Crematorium on Friday, July 26.
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