Alan Titchmarsh: TV star’s defiant rant on gardeners ‘buying British’ exposed

The 70-year-old said his request was not “xenophobia” but an overwhelming desire to protect the “love, care, attention and skill” of the UK’s gardeners who have worked tirelessly to produce beautiful plants. Speaking to i earlier this month, Mr Titchmarsh outlined his fears for the industry, which includes nurseries and garden centres, are not completely lost as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. In March, the garden industry was struck at its most profitable time, with centres and nurseries forced to close their doors.

Spring is normally a time when green fingered members of the public visit the centres to purchase an array of beautiful flowers and plants to spruce up their gardens.

But with the loss of business, Mr Titchmarsh was fearful of what could happen next.

He said: “It’s not xenophobia. It’s just really important that we support our growers in this industry.

“They do a fine job – they’re not in it for the money, goodness me they’re not.”

Mr Titchmarsh added: “The love and the care and attention and the skill that’s gone into it and the information that they pass on is really worth having.

“Any skill or knowledge which is lost or dissipated in any form is a tragedy and we need to make sure that our horticultural industry survives and thrives.

“By supporting local growers you can do that.”

Mr Titchmarsh is one of the UK’s most recognisable faces.

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He rose to prominence in the early Nineties on a variety of garden programmes on TV, with appearances on shows such as ‘Gardener’s World’.

But it was his role on the BBC’s celebrated ‘Ground Force’ which saw Mr Titchmarsh’s star shine brightest.

He is currently working alongside other gardeners on the annual Chelsea Flower Show.

Although the event has been cancelled, budding gardeners are still being invited to show off their gardens, while also giving demonstrations virtually.

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Earlier this month, the Government announced that garden centres would be allowed to reopen in a bid to protect their futures.

And despite the ongoing lockdown, Mr Titchmarsh believes that COVID-19 has had some positive influences on the gardening community.

He said: “During this lockdown period people have really learned of the value of the smallest patch of earth, or even a window box or a pot, in lifting the spirits.

COVID-19 has increased levels of alcoholism and depression but the garden has been a great safety valve for people to just get out and unwind.

“Gardens, plants, flowers and trees are real and untroubled by human difficulties.

“I’ve spent over a month in my own garden and I’ve just had the most glorious time. And it’s connected me to the earth even more.

“I’ve had the opportunity to be in it – and of it – every day, all day, and that’s been a delight.”

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