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Thalassa Cruso: 1909-1997.
Thalassa Cruso, known as "the Julia Child of horticulture," died June 11. Hostess and star of the public television series Making Things Grow, the witty, acerbic Englishwoman indoctrinated viewers into the world of plants, insisting that "if a plant is unbelievably tatty, dispose of it without the least feeling of guilt." Ms. Cruso's programs and writings were aimed at the novice and their appeal lay in the fact that she was Everygardener who drew her advice from personal experience. "I have never studied it, and there is so much I don't know," she once said. In addition to her broadcasting career, she contributed a gardening column to The Boston Globe for 22 years and authored four books, Making Things Work, Making Things Grow, Making Things Grow Outdoors, and To Everything There is a Season. Her parents were passionate gardeners and, as a child, she did much of her homework in the greenhouse. She received her diploma in archeology from the London School of Economics in 1931, and served as assistant keeper of me costume collection at the London Museum. She later directed an excavation at an Iron Age fort in Worcestershire where she met American archeologist Hugh O'Neill Hencken. She returned with him to Boston after their marriage in 1935. Her frequent appearances with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show, as well as her books, caused her to become an unofficial custodian of the public horticultural trust.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.


By Barbara A. Johnston