Growing concerns over garden ignorance

AS THE world-famous Chelsea Flower Show prepares to open its gates, new research has revealed the public's worrying lack of knowledge about horticulture.

FINISHING TOUCHES: An exhibitor works on final preparations at the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London before the event opens to the public.

A survey for the Royal Horticultural Society found that almost four-fifths of people grow plants outside or inside, but a quarter of those do not describe themselves as a gardener, and almost a third think they are only beginners.

The poll also revealed the lack of knowledge about gardening, with only 43 per cent knowing when to plant daffodil bulbs and half not able to name a single garden shrub. But many want to know more about plants and gardening, the Ipsos Mori poll of more than 2,000 people found.

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The director general of the RHS, Sue Biggs, said: “We believe it’s not how much you know, or how much time you spend gardening, but that anyone who grows even one single plant should proudly believe in themselves as a gardener.”

The RHS said it would be doing more to help beginner and intermediate gardeners, including with the RHS Greening Grey Britain garden, which will be at the show to highlight its work with community gardening projects.

The research, which is published today, comes as celebrities and members of the Royal family are set to get the first glimpse of this year’s sell-out Chelsea Flower Show before the event opens to the public tomorrow. Displays include a Chengdu Silk Road Garden, with huge sculptural fins representing a Chinese mountain range, and a Bermuda Triangle exhibit with an “erupting” volcano. The Yorkshire Coastline and Whitby Abbey has inspired one of the entries due to be unveiled.