Row over spring sales defused but Monty Don declines meeting

The Garden Centre Association (GCA) still hopes to meet Monty Don after the TV gardener defended himself in a row over poor spring sales.

Back in March, Don said gardeners did not need to sow anything at all until April and his Gardeners' World programme offered little planting advice in its first episode of 2013. But GCA chairman Peter Burks said gardeners could still plant a variety of plants despite the weather (HW, 15 March).

Plant sales fell by half in March compared to 2012, thanks to the poor weather, resulting in nurseries throwing away thousands of spring bedding plants.

Don said on BBC Radio 4's PM: "I'm flattered that I have the power to affect garden centres' activity, which is of course the result of horrible spring weather. I said don't be in a hurry to sow seeds and that's been inflated out to don't go and buy plants from garden centres, which is of course not what I said at all."

Don later tweeted that there is "no need" for him to meet the GCA in response to a request from the association to correct Don's idea of its views. Burks said: "I didn't disagree with what he said regarding sowing seeds and tender plants. No-one blamed him. I said inexperienced gardeners would hear that and think they couldn't do anything, and there are things you can do. It would be nice to have a chat with him. Gardeners' World is fairly important for us."

He added: "I don't think (the row) has done any harm. Getting people talking about the industry is probably a good thing."

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