Celebrity gardener James Wong has insisted he is a fan of Britain’s best-selling series of gardening books – despite challenging horticultural convention.

BBC gardener James, a regular on Countryfile, published Grow For Flavour last month. He said it had been “pretty much the top-seller in gardening recently”.

Prior to launch, James had argued that hundreds of gardening books contain “virtually identical information” (AG, 14 March).

But he added this month: “I grew up with Dr Hessayon’s Expert books. Everyone did back then, and I’m the Doc’s biggest fan.

“In his garden books there’s a semi-detached house, beautiful little patio, a pond, a long lawn and at the end there’s a veg patch and a greenhouse. I would love to have that, but I don’t know anyone who does.”

James said that nowadays, space constraints mean that ornamentals and edibles can’t always be grown in their own areas – as gardens are often too small.

He explained: “I don’t think we can segregate vegetables to a patch in a certain area and have ornamentals growing out the front.

“We need an Ikea approach – where things are multi-functional.

“If you get a patch that looks great, and provides you with flowers and edibles, and it’s moveable – that’s a modern, fresher approach.”