Garden designer David Domoney, co-presenter of ITV’s Love Your Garden, says he is concerned about the ‘disconnect’ between children and nature – largely due to rise and rise of the Internet.
He said: "Where has the simplicity of a garden treehouse for children gone, where they can climb a tree and connect with nature? A simple tree for kids to climb. A connection with the outdoors."
At this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, Domoney has designed an Avatar-style elevated Treehouse and Woodlands called The Quiet Mark Tree House and Garden by John Lewis.
"We are fighting an uphill battle with the Internet" says Domoney. "And gardening is the loser".
According to communication regular Ofgem, teenagers today spend over 32 hours each week either watching television or on the Internet. The time is evenly split between the two activities. That’s an increase of two hours per week in terms of online usage year on year.
A RHS survey last year revealed that 70 per cent of 18-year-olds do not think gardening is a career to be proud of.
"The internet and political correctness has cut off our children’s greenfingers", according to Domoney, who founded Cultivation Street and the Young Gardeners competition in association with Prince Charles.
Political correctness is also the enemy of children connecting with the outdoors and a sense of adventure, according to the TV gardener: "When schools started banning leap frog and conkers on health & safety grounds 2012 I became highly concerned.
"We need a fundamental shift in the how connect children with the outdoors and not take the easy option of linking them up to smartphone, iPads and videogames consoles to educate and entertain them.
"Young people spend too much time in front of a screen. It’s highly addictive and unfortunately the virtual world seems more real than the real world for a lot of youngsters. We need to do everything in our power to get youngsters to reconnect with nature."