Titchmarsh bemoans lack of gardening TV

Speaking at the RHS 'Vision launch of its fifth garden, Alan Titchmarsh says "whimsical" TV controllers are damaging promotion of gardening.

Alan Titchmarsh
Alan Titchmarsh

Titchmarsh, speaking to an audience of gardening professionals at RHS Lindley Hall, said:

"Only those who never try, never fail, and with broadcasters being whimsical about their approach to gardening - if the controller loves it, the people will get it; if the controller isn’t interested, so it dwindles from the screen - we need even more an organisation that is dedicated and devoted to demonstrating just what a love of plants and gardens can do for individuals and what it means for the country – and the planet – as a whole. Make no mistake, we are part of an extremely important mission: the sharp end of conservation and the wellbeing of humanity. What a grandiose claim! But a truism if ever there was one."

Titchmarsh is to present another series of Love Your Garden in 2016 and Gardeners' World and RHS show coverage will return as usual, but n other gardening TV is known to be scheduled after a glut in early 2015 including the cancelled Big Allotment Challenge, Britain's Best Garden, Sky TV entering gardening, and a one-off series picking an amateur designer for Chelsea on BBC.

Titchmarsh was dropped as Chelsea Flower Show presenter for 2014 after 30 years covering the event. He is set to present an antiques quiz show for ITV, which is recording this month.

Fellow TV gardener Carol Klein agrees gardening is "under-represented on television". Carol's Plant Odyssey was broadcast on the BBC this summer but the veteran presenter said no new series is planned for 2016, though she "lives in hope" that she may be asked to present more shows. "I'd like to do more and I have a lot of other ideas too," she said.

"I don't think gardening is a particularly fashionable subject but I think it is important. A lot of people who watch TV also garden. There are 11 million gardeners in the country. Not that their gardens are all perfectly tended." She would like to cover the history of the dahlia, poppy and peony, should a new series be commissioned.

Titchmarsh added: "Time-poor people with busy lives and financial challenges in a world that demands instant results need to be encouraged to recognize why it is important to slow down, get outside, interact with nature and the garden, not only for their own good but for the good of the nation.

"Britain may be called a nation of gardeners, yet a Mori poll by the RHS earlier this year showed that one in four UK front gardens is completely paved over and nearly one in three gardens contains no plants. In total, five million gardens have no plants at all. The growing trend of paving over front gardens increases the risk of flooding, reduces food and habitats for wildlife and depresses the population. Whoever sighed with pleasure at twenty square yards of neatly cared for concrete?

"Not to worry. Such householders can go into the centre of town and marvel at the floral displays. Not for much longer they can’t. Not with the likes of Bradford Metropolitan Council slashing its floral displays by 80 per cent. Oh, I have sympathy with local authorities who have to work within tight budgetary constraints, but when the soft target of floral displays is attacked I see a direct link to those three local authority priorities: health, education and law and order.

"Without green spaces and flowers depression sets in, frustration can lead to crime, and lack of growing things results in a lack of understanding of our responsibility for the landscape and an inability to empathise with the way it works. This apparent frippery – the flowerbed – does more good to heart and soul than it is ever given credit for. All of which points up the fact that horticulture needs a robust champion in the form of the RHS which will, quite literally, put its money where its mouth is and get out to bring horticulture, gardens and gardening to the British population."

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Pots and containers

Pots and containers

Superior propagation products can justify extra expenditure by providing precise cell fill, optimum root development and healthy plugs, writes Sally Drury.

Business Planning - Inflationary pressures

Business Planning - Inflationary pressures

How can horticulture businesses respond to Brexit-fuelled inflation? Neville Stein outlines the options.

Garden centre profile: Mappleborough Green Garden Centre

Garden centre profile: Mappleborough Green Garden Centre

Phase two of the redevelopment of the former Badger Nurseries has delivered rapid and impressive results, Matthew Appleby discovers.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Garden retail Top 100 GARDEN CENTRES

Our exclusive ranking of garden centre performance by annual turnover. NEW: 2016 listing just published

Garden Centre Prices

GARDEN CENTRE PRICES w/e 21 September 2016
GARDEN CENTRE PRICES w/e 24 August 2016

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here