BBC Two’s flagship gardening show is failing to inspire the nation’s plant enthusiasts, claim growers.
Nurserymen at the Malvern Spring Gardening Show attacked Gardeners’ World, headed by Monty Don, saying the series has lost its way.
“I never watch Gardeners’ World any more because of the presenters,” said David Matthewman, of Matthewman’s Sweet Peas.
“They are not professional gardeners. Sometimes their advice is wrong. People treat presenters as gods and believe what they say to be written in stone.
“Information should be vetted by a professional. We need a presenter like Alan Titchmarsh,” David argued.
Matthew Soper, of Hampshire Carnivorous Plants, described Gardeners’ World as “about as much use as Top Gear”.
Matthew explained: “It’s always about herbaceous plants. I can’t remember the last time they did orchids, cacti or carnivorous plants.
“They only need a specialist slot now and again. Gardeners always want to try something new. Cooking has become big on TV and gardening has taken a back-seat.”
Marcel Floyd, of Floyd’s Climbers and Clematis, blamed the presenters and the format.
Marcel said: “Two or three years ago you’d see plant names on the screen but they don’t always do that any more. They don’t visit enough specialist nurseries.
“The BBC got rid of Toby Buckland too quickly – he was watchable. Now, it’s gone backwards. It needs fresh blood: a presenter under 40.”
Val Bradley, a gardening expert with The Sun newspaper, said: “In the late 70s and early 80s, Gardeners’ World had clout. Now, no-one I know watches it.
“Geoff Hamilton had selling power. If he mentioned a plant, everyone wanted to grow it.
“The Beechgrove Garden [now national on BBC2] reminds me of Gardeners’ World in its heyday – full of tips from gardeners who know how to garden,” Val explained.
But not everyone was critical of Gardeners’ World, which in April attracted a healthy 2.32 to 2.58 million viewers.
Fuchsia specialist Mike Clare, of Potash Nursery, said: “Under Monty, the show is a bit more back-to-basics, which is good. If a plant is mentioned, people still ask for it.”