Diversity in horticulture: TV

“51% of 14-24 year olds watch a range of gardening programmes”

“40% of 14-24 year olds watch Gardener’s World”

Gardening is portrayed in the media as white, middle class, male dominated and ageist.

If this form of media is critical for growth in horticulture then why are they enforcing the dull, traditional gardening stereotypes? Television has a huge impact on younger peoples lives and sometimes affects their future career choices.

Gardener’s World is obviously a popular show. It revolves around Monty Don (white, male, middle class, middle-aged) and he is assisted by other white, middle class, middle-aged gardeners (some female!). It’s a hobbyists show and doesn’t inspire people to take up careers in horticulture; it’s just a “job for the weekend”.

Gardening on television encourages younger people to view gardening as a hobby; most believe that gardening is ‘unskilled work’ and not a long term career option. There is an ever increasing demand for gardeners that cannot be fulfilled if stereotypes and ideologies don’t change. I am desperate to see younger people in horticulture on TV, as presenters or speakers, showing off their passion; then becoming heroes to the aspiring horticulturists in their generation or the generation below them.

We are slowly seeing an increase in the media of young horticulturists however they are also white, male and middle class. Why can’t they show the wildly diverse range of unique gardeners that I see on Twitter or Instagram; the hardworking people that have incredible horticulture careers who live in the shadow of overused stereotypes.

Encouraging a change in the media will allow a diverse range of ‘regular’ horticulturists to appear on TV; careers in gardening will become more accessible and obtainable. Younger people will want to be just like their gardening heroes!

Statistics referenced: (Jack Wallington – “Big up Monty D” theguardian.com – 2016 – data collected from 514, 14-24 year olds)

6 thoughts on “Diversity in horticulture: TV

  1. jackjjw says:

    Hi Eleanor,

    Thanks for sharing the stats 🙂 I should point out that they actually show that young people do watch and like programmes like Gardeners World (it is their most watched gardening show), and in particular name Monty Don as a presenter they like.

    On a personal note, I actually find gardening programmes really diverse and I’m not sure I agree that it is all white, male and middle class. For instance, Garden Rescue is hosted by the Rich Brothers and Charlie Dimmock, the BBC also has Danny Clarke, the Instant Gardener. Plus of course we have people like Carole Klein, Rachel de Thame, Frances Tophill, James Wong etc. There is a really diverse set of garden presenters out there – and I support it staying that way 🙂

    Happy gardening!

    Jack

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    • eleanorowensgardening says:

      Hello, you state in your article that only 7% 14-24 year olds would consider a career in horticulture so the media isn’t influencing young people into a hort career. I agree with some points however Danny Clarke’s show was on daytime television and wasn’t promoted much, and gardener’s world is on at prime time with adverts running constantly. Major differences that should be equal! It is important for young horts to appear in the media because age is a huge problem in hort and people see it as a career when they are ‘older’. The presenters you have named show gender diversity but not ethnicity, age, class/money nor do they show different sides of hort (just English country gardens). I respect your article and opinion. Thank you for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jackjjw says:

        Hi Eleanor,
        In my original article I also highlight the number one reason young people aren’t opting for horticulture as a career, which is money and the poor salaries. I don’t personally think media is to blame for it. Most young people I speak to online and offline who have chosen hort careers say Gardeners World was an inspiration. I really am a big supporter and advocate for higher salaries for young people in hort, this is the number one problem. Young people simply aren’t going to choose it as a career when it comes bottom the compost heap in pay.
        And I would of course love more gardeners early in their careers given slots showing their gardens on TV too. The BBC are great during the RHS shows at giving young gardeners loads of air time for their show gardens.
        Jack

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  2. Trey Pitsenberger says:

    Perhaps in Great Britain it’s different, but I’m really surprised that anyone under the age of 65 watches gardening shows on TV anymore. At least that seems the case here in the US. Most media is online, and there are extensive garden videos available. My feeling is forget TV, and focus you outreach via The Internet.

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