Recent research by B&Q has revealed that it’s not just Prince Charles who chats to his garden, with over half of 2,000 surveyed (51 per cent) admitting to talking to their plants and a further one in two (50 per cent) believing that it helps them grow.
According to the public and The Royal Horticultural Society (2009), words of encouragement have a positive effect on garden growth. On top of showering seeds with sunlight and water, "Brits believe that sweet- talking flora is the key to making your garden grow", say B&Q.
Due to customer demand, B&Q has decided to make its garden centres "the most caring in the world by introducing a new method of care" in one of their Southampton stores. Led by horticulture head Tim Clapp, three B&Q employees – Jaime Ormond, Charlotte Payne and Sally Wallace, have been appointed as full time ‘plant whisperers’, learning and spreading the language of flowers.
As part of the experiment at B&Q Hedge End, the ‘plant whisperers’ will be on hand in-store and on Twitter, to share their learnings with customers on how to talk to their plants, to see the benefits after they take the plants home. Customers will learn which phrases work best for different plants to produce healthy growth, such as, ‘you rose well today’, ‘I’m hedge-ing my bets on you’, ‘alright petal’, ‘you’re blooming marvellous’ and ‘show me your flower power’.
For those uncomfortable talking to their plants, there is also musical therapy. Following research in South Korea (2007), which found rice plants grew quicker and blossomed earlier when played Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, B&Q’s ‘plant whisperers’ have created the ultimate ‘Plant Playlist’ for its customers.
The playlist features top songs for best plant growth, such as The Foundation’s ‘Build me up Buttercup’, Bon Jovi’s ‘Bed of Roses’ and Nirvana’s ‘Marigold’ and will be available to download from Spotify for plants to enjoy in their own gardens.
For those unable to travel to the Hedge End store, customers will be able to tweet @BandQ #PlantWhisperers, with images of their unhappy blooms and the dedicated ‘plant whisperers’ will advise on which song or phrase would work best to perk up their droopy plants and flowers.
Clapp said: "Plants are much like humans; if you leave them alone and don’t give them proper care, they suffer. In our role as custodians of some of the world’s greatest garden centres, we want to provide our customers with the most cared for and nurtured plants possible. That’s why we believe we’re the first company in the world to trial ‘talking to plants’ in a store and offer our customers access to our dedicated plant whisperers on Twitter."
Jamie Ormrod, trainee plant whisperer, said, "When I first heard that talking to plants helps them grow, I was sceptical. However, when my mum’s tomato plant started to wilt whilst she was away I thought I’d give it a go and couldn’t believe the positive results. Each species has its own personality so different phrases and songs work better for different plants. I’m excited to spread the word and share the language of flowers."
1. Kiss from a Rose, Seal
2. Build me up buttercup, The Foundations
3. Every Rose has its Thorn, Poison
4. Marigold, Nirvana
5. Bed of Roses, Bon Jovi
6. Acoustic Alchemy, Gardener’s World
7. Sunflower, Lenny Kravitz
8. Daisy Lane, Stereophonics
9. Strawberry Fields Forever, Beatles
10. Paradise City, Guns and Rose
Other research findings reveal that ‘green fingered’ Londoners are the most likely to talk to their plants (60 per cent), as well as being the top region to believe this has an impact on how their plants and posies grow (59 per cent). Those in Northern Ireland, are the least likely to talk to their plants (42 pe cent), with less than half (45 per cent), believing this helps their blooms blossom.
The over 55’s seem to be the biggest believers in talking to plants, with over half doing so (57 per cen), compared to just 48 per cent of under 25’s.