Eion Scarrow was running a gardening centre in Hamilton when he realised he knew more about gardening than the TV presenter he was helping out. Soon he took over the show. Four years later Scarrow began hosting Dig This, NZ's first national gardening show. From his Avalon studio garden base, he was a green-fingered telly guide for 11 years. The prolific writer of more than 20 books passed away on Anzac Day 2013.

I’ve been to 98 countries just looking at gardens. For instance, I’ve been to Japan about six times and I studied bonsai under one of the top bonsai masters. He had a little cane and every time I got something wrong he’d whack me across the knuckles! Eion Scarrow, interviewed for website Rural Living

Dig This - 1979 Episode

1979, Presenter, Writer - Television

Beloved host Eion Scarrow dispensed down to earth advice for home gardeners in this long-running gardening series - NZ telly’s first national gardening show. In this episode he guides viewers on how to shift an established tree (a 6-8 week process) before moving on to what to plant at this time of the year (March). The viewers’ letters (“not lettuce”) segment tackles questions about rootstock in grafting rhododendrons, preventing onions and gum trees from rotting, pitfalls in establishing a blueberry crop, and dealing with a plant with (sci-fi) runaway roots.

Will the Real Mr Claus Please Stand Up

1977, Subject - Television

TV1 celebrated Christmas by throwing most of its big names into this 1977 comedy/variety show. Ringleaders Roger Gascoigne and Nice One Stu's Stu Dennison are joined by a cavalcade of newsreaders hiding under Santa beards. Among the loopy 70s oddities on show: Brian Edwards in school uniform, channelling The Goons; Selwyn Toogood doing an It's in the Bag sketch that would nowadays likely be deemed too un-PC to make it to air; plus racehorse expert Glyn Tucker talking reindeer races. Madcap band Mother Goose also appear. 

Dig This

1975 - 1986, Presenter, Writer - Television

Dig This became NZ’s first national gardening show when it replaced a series of regional programmes in 1975. For 15 minutes, before the English football highlights on Sunday mornings, presenter Eion Scarrow (who had honed his skills fronting the Auckland show since 1971) dirtied his hands in a specially created garden in the grounds of Avalon Studios in Lower Hutt (allowing a generation of trainee directors to develop their own craft). His advice was no-nonsense and so was his wardrobe of home knitted jerseys, gumboots, overalls and towelling hats.