Seabrook On ... Talk to one another to stay well informed

We live in the age of communication yet most of us appear to be less well informed than ever. When I started work we had no electricity at home and no telephone, we wrote letters and to make a call meant riding your bike to the village telephone box.

Even so, we were all pretty well informed about happenings locally and nationally from newspapers, magazines and the radio. Now we all have mobile phones, e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Skype and goodness knows what else, but speak to one another much less.

Reading five or six consumer and trade gardening magazines a week, there are still many gaps in my knowledge. At a local gardening club recently David Domoney gave an absorbing, very professionally presented and well received talk about his experiences.

While I have read reports of his activities with garden design students at the Ideal Home Show and founding the Cultivation Street competition, the depth of his work in the community had completely passed me by. A public thank you, David, for all you are doing. Too many people talk about the need to attract young people into the garden trade and then leave the doing to others.

Co-operation brings strength yet too often our gardening-based organisations split up, invariably because of a lack of good communication. Currently I pay two subscriptions, one to the Society of Chemical Industries (SCI) and the other to the Chartered Institute of Horticulture following that split. Incidentally, the SCI magazine is an excellent source of information for all that is happening in the chemicals world.

The chartering thrills some and now I hear other respected members of the gardening world are leaving because they see no need to be chartered. Similarly there are senior members of the RHS who feel abandoned. When I asked whether they had considered forming a gardeners' society the reply was: "One is forming around The Plantsman."

Time perhaps to send fewer e-mails - many of which do not get read - and spend more time talking to people.

Peter Seabrook is a gardening writer and broadcaster

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