Buckland to support garden centres through new TV role

The new presenter of Gardeners' World, Toby Buckland, wants to promote garden centres, and won't shun the use of the retail staples pesticides and peat on the Friday-evening BBC television show.

He said: "Heading up Gardeners' World, my first responsibility is to gardeners, but I do care about the industry."

He added: "There's a theory in gardening that you should only visit small nurseries and grow as much as you can from seed. That's perfectly good, but I want to broaden Gardeners' World's appeal and make it acceptable for gardeners to visit garden centres, while highlighting what's on sale at garden centres now.

"I believe gardeners need to be shown how to shop for things and encouraged to support the industry. It shouldn't all be about growing your own as cheaply as possible."

Buckland adds that he uses chemicals - something that his predecessor on Gardeners' World, Monty Don, opposed: "In some cases it's better to be an inorganic success than an organic failure and never pick up a trowel again. Growing your own and saving food miles is the single most important thing you can do. And if that means you clear your allotment with glyphosate and then go on to be chemical-free, it's common sense."

About the use of peat, he adds: "Even the gardeners at Kew, who have been peat-free for years, say some plants need a little peat in their potting mixes - citrus trees, for example.

"So, if we talk about growing lemons, we'll recommend peat as one of the ingredients. We won't ignore the issue - we'll be honest to help viewers."

On the choice of Buckland to present the BBC's flagship gardenening programme, HTA commercial services director Andrew Maxted said: "He came over as a gardener's gardener; loving his subject and prepared to share his tips, hints and shortcuts.

"With his evident horticultural knowledge, his years (enough, but not too many) of practical gardening experience and his obvious presentation skills, he is a very worthy successor to Geoff Hamilton and Alan Titchmarsh - yet from the outset is impressing his own personality on the show."

- See interview, p17.

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