RHS debate raises concern for future

Titchmarsh wins argument that gardening is core

Suggestions of a crisis in horticultural training nearly overthrew TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh’s motion that gardening is core to the British way of life, at an RHS-hosted debate last week. More than 250 delegates attended the event called Private Passion or National Indifference — Is Gardening Still Core to the British Way of Life?, held at the National Geographic Society in London. The audience heard Titchmarsh — who was supported by HW commentator Peter Seabrook — defend the motion by 10 per cent against University of Sheffield professor of landscape architecture James Hitchmough and garden designer and lecturer Andrew Wilson. While Titchmarsh and Seabrook spoke of a passionate nation keeping gardening at the core of Britishness, opponents felt that this was an unrealistic statement, highlighting the younger generation’s indifference to working within the horticulture industry. Wilson said: “A good horticultural education is virtually non-existent compared to the courses being offered in garden design. “Because of the amount of TV gardening programmes we are seeing a preference for profession over skill — the attraction of creativity over knowledge.” Both Titchmarsh and Seabrook recognised the trend argued by their opponents but fought back with claims that gardening is a deep-rooted passion of Britons and is core to the British way of life.

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