Buckland forecasts changes and wild flowers in gardens

Gardeners' World lead presenter Toby Buckland has said gardening is on the cusp of big changes and 2011 will be a year of wild flowers in the garden.

Buckland was at the recent Wimbledon Bookfest talking to garden designer Andrew Fisher Tomlin. He said garden space is becoming more valuable. "How we use our gardens - feed birds, enjoy nature, get food, celebrate - that's the flavour I'm trying to bring to the programme," he explained.

His next book is on the flower garden at Greenacres, including using seed packet meadows and using the garden for celebrations, encompassing 2011's cut your own theme. Next year's Gardeners' World will also feature unusual edible crops and demonstrate how to grow staples well and avoid gluts.

He said: "These are interesting times with greater access to information. I don't think as an industry we are using or understating the potential. For instance, the RHS could bring in a text service - if you don't know the plant in your garden, you text a picture to the RHS for identification. You could get six a year as part of membership. It's a time for big ideas at the moment."

He continued: "I want to see an update in plant hardiness zones in the UK. Gardeners' World could ask when oaks are in leaf and hone by postcode and you will know which plants need fleecing. It is no longer about garden experts telling you how to garden. We can all contribute. Gardening organisations have to join up and make it happen."

Buckland, who is to speak at the All-Party Parliamentary Gardening & Horticulture Group annual reception next month, added: "We're on the cusp of a big change in horticulture. The interest in wildlife is becoming more sophisticated and how we use chemicals is changing." He said growers need alternatives to products such as pyrethrin.

He criticised parks departments that "have gamekeepers looking after people who are trying to make money from contracts. Perhaps we need another role for people that is a more gardenesque way of what product looks like."

Buckland also suggested that it could be part of the school curriculum to grow plants for roundabouts or hospitals.

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