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Joan Sargent, 86, New Canaan Horticulturist

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Joan Dickins Sargent, a longtime New Canaan resident, died July 23 at her home surrounded by family. She was 86. 

Born Sept. 4, 1925, in London, England, she was the daughter of Alexander and Constance Dickins. She joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force during World War II, serving in Padstow, U.K. as a wireless operator until the end of the war. 

After emigrating to the U.S., Sargent went to work in New York at Good Housekeeping Magazine before settling in Connecticut to raise a family. Sargent was known throughout the area as a master gardener, her family said. Self-taught, she worked at White Flower Farm, learning on the job from founder Bill Harris. 

She also volunteered and contributed to horticultural projects throughout the community and at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Along with her gardening team, Sargent worked on the walled garden at Waveny Care Center, Lee Gardens and the New Canaan Nature Center. 

Sargent wrote a regular column for Horticulture Magazine, gave numerous lectures and led workshops for the Gardeners, New Canaan Garden Club and New Canaan Nature Center. 

She was a two-time recipient of the awards for Connecticut Gardner of the Year and was a member of the Garden Club for many years. Sargent was a founding member of the New Canaan Winter Club and a 25-year volunteer at the Children's Aid Society. 

She is survived by six children, Susan Sargent, of Tinmouth, Vt., D. Alec Sargent, of Bethesda, Md., John Sargent, of Rowayton, David Sargent, of Houston, Texas, Jodie Sargent of Milford, Conn. and Mark Sargent, of Providence, R.I.; a son-in-law, Tom Peters; three daughters-in-law, Lee Sargent, Molly Sargent and Kitty Douglas; a sister, Janice Palmer, of Isle of Wight, U.K.; a brother, Alec Dickins, of Sydney, Australia; 10 grandchildren and a great-grandchild.  

A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 26, at the New Canaan Nature Center, 144 Oenoke Ridge, New Canaan, CT 06840. A reception will immediately follow the service. Hoyt Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the New Canaan Library, 151 Main St., New Canaan CT 06840 or the New Canaan Nature Center.


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