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Passionate ABC gardening expert remembered by Toowoomba community

PHOTO: ABC Gardening talkback expert Rod Hultgren passed away on the weekend. (ABC Southern Qld: Peter Gunders)
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Long-time ABC gardening talkback expert, Rod Hultgren, has been remembered as a passionate gardener with an encyclopaedic knowledge of plants.

Mr Hultgren died on the weekend after a short illness.

An educator during his working career, gardening was Rod Hultgren’s passion.

Along with his wife Maureen, Mr Hultgren won champion garden at the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers numerous times.

President of the Darling Downs Rose Society, and family friend, Leo Cooper described Mr Hultgren as “a walking gardening encyclopedia.”

“He was well-known for his love of roses and camellias, but he’d talk about plants I hadn’t even have heard of!” Mr Cooper laughed.

“But the main thing was that he was all about helping other people.”

Mr Hultgren was a familiar voice to generations of Darling Downs gardeners. He offered talkback advice over the ABC airwaves for more than 20 years.

“His gardening advice obviously influenced the Darling Downs, but I’d say his advice was international, because Rod and Maureen’s passion for gardening took them to gardens all over the world,” he said.

“Any question you had, he’d have an answer for, either on the radio or if you saw him in person.

Two small white rose buds in full bloom PHOTO: Rod Hultgren recently bred the award winning ‘What a Beauty’ rose currently growing in the National Rose Trial Garden in Adelaide. (Supplied: National Rose Trial Garden)

“Any advice that I’ve ended up sharing with people has most probably originally come from Rod!”

Mr Hultgren was heavily involved in the upkeep of the Queensland State Rose Garden in Toowoomba’s Newtown Park.

Mr Cooper says Mr Hultgren’s advice will live on, and his flowers will continue to brighten gardens around the country.

“He bred roses,” Mr Cooper said.

“Only recently, he brought a new flower to our last show called ‘What a Beauty’.

“It won a trophy for best Australian-bred rose at the national trial garden last year.”

Mr Hultgren will be remembered as a tireless worker for garden clubs in Toowoomba, and Mr Cooper said his approach to enjoying his garden was something everyone could learn from.