- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 29, 2005

George Abraham, 89, gardening guru

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — George “Doc” Abraham, a wisecracking gardening guru who teamed up with his wife on one of the longest-running shows on American radio with the same hosts, has died. He was 89.

Mr. Abraham died Jan. 27 at a hospital in Canandaigua, N.Y., of complications from congestive heart failure, said his daughter, Leanna.

The couple wrapped up the last edition of “The Green Thumb” on Dec. 14, 2002, with a trademark sign-off they had used for a half-century.

“Gotta grow now!” said Mr. Abraham before wife Katy piped in, “And don’t forget to be neighborly.”

The half-hour, call-in show went on the air in 1952, offering practical advice on flowers, fruit bugs and lawn care mixed in with Mr. Abraham’s down-home humor and Mrs. Abraham’s poetry recitations. The couple’s country-twang chemistry — her sweet nature a foil to Doc’s gregariousness — drew a loyal following on Rochester’s WHAM radio station.

After World War II, the couple launched a greenhouse business and a syndicated gardening column that, during its heyday, reached 5 million readers in 130 newspapers around the country.

Their column still showed up in a few dozen small-town newspapers and magazines, and many of their 16 gardening books, notably “The Green Thumb Garden Handbook,” remain in print. Mr. Abraham had just finished an autobiography, “A Bathtub Built for Two,” which will be published this summer, his daughter said.

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