There is no point in being "xenophobic" about overseas-supplied plants, Waitrose gardening ambassador Alan Titchmarsh has said.
Waitrose boasts 40 per cent UK sourcing year round and 60 per cent in summer. Titchmarsh said customers do care about home-grown provenance. "It's important and it's why we support our growers, which is what Waitrose do.
"You can always do more to make people aware of the quality of the food and its origins," he added. :It's more difficult sometimes with plants because a lot of it's grown in Europe but we are Europeans now and you can't be head in the sand about it and be xenophobic."
The Love Your Garden presenter said his role at Waitrose is "about getting more people to understand the value of growing things and increasing their familiarity and understanding and contact as things grow. My sole purpose in life is to keep on removing the mystique and reconnecting because successive generations seem to get further and further away from things that grow.
"People don't necessarily expect to find that in a supermarket. You catch an audience that might not otherwise come. Those who go to a garden centre know why they're going and they know what to expect but people don't expect to find good quality plants and tools in the supermarket so to be able to do that and perhaps reach people in other areas is a good thing."
Titchmarsh said if he was a politician he would change society by thinking "longer term and gardening has taught me that. Governments only have to think of five years, but why don't we have policies that are not tied to one government that we all agree are a good thing and are handed down from generation to generation?
"We need to be looking 50-100 years ahead and we should as a society be able to do that". Developing land "for a quick buck" would be "bad for our grandchildren".
Alan Titchmarsh was promoting Waitrose at its Christmas launch this month. Wyevale, Dobbies, B&Q and Hobbycraft are also having Christmas launches in London this July.
Waitrose said it "is proud to support local growers from all over the country all year round and this festive season is no different, with suppliers of a selection of Christmas horticulture grown in Britain".