The Chelsea Flower Show is in danger of becoming "little more than a wistful memory" unless young people begin to show a greater interest in horticulture, Alan Titchmarsh has said.
The gardener and television presenter said young people grow up idolising celebrities, such as boy band One Direction and James Bond actor Daniel Craig, and do not consider a future in horticulture because "careers advisers never even think of it" and little is done from within to champion the industry.
He said: "There is much to learn and, as anyone who has been involved with horticulture will tell you, it can be tremendously challenging.
"And yet our role is undervalued by Government, by the population and by young people in particular - in every instance because they just do not understand the breadth of what we do and its importance in terms of the wellbeing of the planet and its population."
Citing a recent survey which showed 70 per cent of horticulture businesses could not fill skilled vacancies, with another 90 per cent of survey respondents saying the industry "lacks career appeal", Titchmarsh predicted a dim future for British gardening if current attitudes remain.
He said: "If this situation continues, British horticulture will dwindle and become a pale shadow of its former self, and Chelsea Flower Show little more than a wistful memory."
Titchmarsh was speaking at the launch of the RHS Chelsea Centenary Appeal, a fundraising drive to find £1 million supporting the next generation of horticulturalists.
He said: "The centenary of Chelsea Flower Show gives us an opportunity that is not to be wasted - a chance to demonstrate that those of us involved in horticulture are not thick, or dull, or unadventurous or simply incapable of doing anything else.
"It’s time we reconnected them [young people] with apples rather than Apple Macs, plant cells rather than cell phones and raspberries as well as Blackberries."