Alan Titchmarsh TV show called out for cheap plants plea UPDATED

A TV company request for "bargain plants" from roadside stalls and car boot sales is "going down like a lead balloon, undermining the industry and encouraging spread of pest and disease".

Alan Titchmarsh
Alan Titchmarsh

ITV's Love Your Garden producer Spun Gold has asked on Facebook for tips on buying bargain plants from street markets for use on a show presented by Alan Titchmarsh:

"[Presenter] Alan [Titchmarsh] is making an exciting new programme and he’d love to know where you go to get plants and trees for your garden for bargain prices. Where do you know that offers great value for money in your local area? It can be anywhere in the UK…from local street markets to car boot sales or even a stall at the side of the road! Email your bargain plant-buying tips to: Please include shop/market/stall names and location/address."

Suppliers get a credit, ability to tweet and may be offered a token payment.

The post on Facebook has received more than 200 responses.

Plants for Europe's Graham Spencer said: "This is going down like a lead balloon, undermining the industry and encouraging the spread of pest and disease."

He added: "I'm very concerned by this. Alan is aware of the important issue of plant health and knows that cannot be done on the cheap. Buying from APHA registered nurseries and retailers helps to ensure that the plants people buy come from a traceable source and that the spread of harmful pests and diseases is minimised. That's really important to ensure that people buy not only good quality plants that are accurately named but also to protect our gardens and countryside from harmful pest and disease, like Xylella."

Hillview Hardy Plants' Sarah Millington said: "Seriously! Stop trying to under value plants!! Why buy 'cheap?' You might as well just get a lorry load from Holland, as you’re not interested in supporting BRITISH horticulture. We’re an under-valued industry, most of who haven’t raised our prices significantly in years; yet grow plants day in day out. We’re out in the snow, rain, hail and sun making them look good and ensuring they’re free of pests and diseases. And yet you can’t support us. Thanks."

Susannah Betts added: "You should be supporting the British Horticultural industry and all of the excellent independent nurseries run and owned by trained and experienced Horticulturists. Mr Titchmarsh should be ashamed of himself."

Mary Hayter said: "Please don’t undermine a struggling industry horticulturalist are faced with enough problems with brexit, Covid and the difficult weather conditions this year. They are doing their best to keep up with demand. The large supermarkets etc can always undercut the local growers sadly."

Colin Moat added: "I’m appalled by this approach and whilst I have held AT in high regard, this really scrapes the bottom of the barrel. Small and specialist nurseries have had a couple of the most difficult years in memory and have had to watch garden centres and supermarkets being open whilst they remained closed. These often propagate their own plants many specialising in certain plants and bringing them to the public. The costs of supplies have rocketed. If you want to support the horticultural trade wouldn’t it be good to concentrate on these people who keep many unusual, sometimes just out of fashion, plants available. Why is the concentration on ‘Bargain Prices’ rather than quality products, with the expertise to go with it? Presumably that is why they employ AT to present the programme rather than the bloke down the boot fair, who wouldn’t know as much but be far cheaper?"

Melanie Kerr said: "We need to be supporting nurseries not supermarkets. All of these people selling plants need to be registered as plant passport holders. I think out of all the gardeners, Alan would know this."

John Bates said: "Hopefully you'll mention plant passports and ensuring that who you buy from is registered with APHA in the fight against importing plant pests and diseases."

Another Facebook respondee said: "Good plants don't come cheap Alan."

Titchmarsh's agent said: "Alan is filming the new series of Love Your is unable to help."

Spun Gold has also received and acknowledged a request for a comment but did not provide a response.

#Meanwhile, there are concerns that people will pave over front gardens planting so they can charge their electric car at home, warns Titchmarsh. RAC Foundation research finds 18m out of 27m front gardens have space for a charging bay but says, in the process, gardens may be paved over.

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