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Survey: Brits 41 before they get into gardening

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Mandy's garden
Stuff your garden full of plants and let them grow - my garden, August 2017

Fiskars paints desperate picture of youngsters in horticulture

Mandy back yard
Me circa 1970, in the back yard I would eventually grow an apple tree from a pip and other such wonders

How old were you when you got into gardening? According to a new survey, it’s 41, which makes grim reading – but not entirely unexpected –  for the horticultural industry.

I think there is a lot of truth in this. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t garden – but I did go through a ‘cooling off period’ when the kids were younger, I worked full-time and was studying part-time for a degree. There just were not enough hours in the day.

According to the researchers involved, up until we are 41, nearly three in 10 adults continue to rely on elderly parents to sort out their outdoor space – with one in 20 calling on grandparents to tend to their gardens.

A further one in 10 watch clips on YouTube to solve their horticultural problems.

The poll, by garden tool supplier Fiskars, revealed a third of adults have never trimmed a hedge and nearly a quarter haven’t ever potted a plant.

A further 23 percent of the 1,500 adults polled claim to have never mown a lawn or raked leaves.

Botanist and broadcaster, James Wong, said: “The study shows there is a lack of engagement between the younger generation and gardening, but it’s so important we don’t lose that passion for our outdoor spaces.

Old apple tree
Grown from a pip when I was eight in that old back yard and transported to my garden

“A lack of enjoyment or interest in maintaining a garden usually stems from people not knowing where to start. That’s why developing an interest in gardening and showing the rewards that outdoor spaces can bring is essential, such as growing plants in small spaces, which can be fun and productive – you just need a little sunshine and some imagination.”

A spokesman for Fiskars added: “Getting into gardening at the age of 41 may seem late, but with many adults not getting on the property ladder or living in flats until their late thirties, it’s becoming the norm.

“Gardening can seem daunting at first and it’s only natural to want to call upon parents or grandparents who tend to be much more knowledgeable.”

More than a third of respondents describe their garden as a place to escape it all and one in 10 said they were immensely proud of the way their outdoor space looked.

A quarter of Brits sees themselves as a keen gardener – with more than half of adults looking forward to summer so they can get back outside (if you’re that keen, you’d be out there already!)

Lack of basic knowledge is a problem – half of the adults said they wouldn’t be able to identify a fuchsia, 40 per cent would struggle to spot a pansy and more than half wouldn’t know a geranium (I guess the survey means the Pelargonium) when they saw one. These are basic, common plants for goodness sake!

The survey reckons we spend an average of five hours per week in the garden (which seems a lot if we are that sackless) and in a typical year we will invest just £119 in maintaining and improving it.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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