Garden centres urged to boycott Gardeners' World magazine after Monty Don 'attacked the industry that employs him'

Helena Horton
·3 min read
Monty Don is trying to garden more sustainably  - Clara Molden
Monty Don is trying to garden more sustainably - Clara Molden

Garden centres are being urged to boycott Gardeners' World magazine after Monty Don 'attacked the industry that employs him'.

The BBC presenter wrote about sustainable gardening last week for the magazine, and recommended people try to grow their own flowers rather than buying them in bulk from garden centres. 

Now, garden centres are threatening not to stock the magazine, and the industry has hit back over his advice to use the shops less.

Alton Garden Centre director Andy Bunker told Horticulture Week: "How on earth can you be a garden centre that's advising your customers not to buy from you?"

Bunker said he sells up to 100 copies a month and advised other garden retailers to follow suit.

The offending words in Gardeners' World magazinem read: "We should not be buying cheap, mass-produced disposable plants but either grow them ourselves or buy them locally from small producers.

"We should each own the impact of what we buy and how it contributes to carbon emissions."

Don added that "no garden centre should stock" peat or peat-grown plants and "if they do, then they are actively choosing to do harm. Cheap mass produced houseplants and bedding potted into peat cheers people up. There has to be an alternative that is just as accessible."

The British Protected Ornamentals Association (BPOA) has hit out at his comments, asking the presenter to visit their growers.

BPOA chairman James Alcaraz said: "I'm very saddened that Monty Don has felt  the need to yet again attack the industry that employs him. We are all used to politicians, Trump, Bush, Boris etc. etc. saying particularly stupid things but we do not expect it from someone within the industry. I should accuse Monty Don of being bad for the environment, all the hot air and CO2 that is emitted from his lips, no amount of tree planting could balance out his personal carbon footprint.

"I offer an open clinvitation to Monty Don and the BBC to come and meet some of the nurseries and people who are spearheading a lot of the work being done, in order to educate both him and the BBC on the true facts of life."

Mr Alcaraz added that the industry is trying to become more sustainable, phasing out plastics and using fewer chemicals. 

Monty Don told The Telegraph he hoped that the industry would work together with conservationists to solve the problems of peat and over consumption instead of taking sides, and that while garden centres continue to sell peat and other products which are bad for the environment, they are "part of the problem".

Monty Don has an exclusive contract with the magazine and recently signed a new two-year presenting contact with the BBC show of the same name. Part of this job is presenting RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which has recently been given the go ahead for 2021.

Gardeners' World magazine has been contacted for comment.