Garden centres have “no excuse” for selling peat, claims Britain’s head gardener.

TV gardener Monty Don

TV gardener Monty Don (copyright IPC)

Monty Don, the Gardeners’ World presenter, became embroiled in a row on Twitter after he told his 24,000 fans: “If you cannot find peat-free compost, make a fuss. Garden centres care only about the money – tell them they are losing a sale.”

But a representative of Stratford Garden Centre in Warwickshire objected and replied: “Harsh, unless you mean we care about money to pay our staff and suppliers to keep this friendly industry going.”

Organic gardener Monty, who once said he hadn’t been to a garden centre for 10 years, hit back: “None of that justifies eco-vandalism. Be friendly, care for staff and customers AND the planet.”

Ben Reid Garden Centre of Aberdeen then waded into the spat, telling the BBC star: “Please don’t tar us all with the same brush Monty. People, plants and passion is what drives the majority of us in the trade.”

Again, Monty defended his stance, replying: “But there is really no excuse for any garden centre ever to sell peat in any form. It doesn’t make the owners bad – just wrong in that issue.”