Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

BBC Worldwide Press Releases

British gardeners seek out 'the good life'

A quiet revolution is occurring behind hedgerows throughout the UK, as gardening shifts from a decorative hobby into a practical activity to provide food, according to new research from Gardeners' World magazine.

In a throw-back to The Good Life, a survey of Gardeners' World magazine readers found that a majority now favour vegetables over flowers, with 60 per cent of gardeners surveyed planning to boost the number of vegetables they produce this year. When asked if they had to choose, 50 per cent of gardeners would grow vegetables ahead of flowers, with 48 per cent opting for flowers.

However with the growing season looming, flower lovers needn't despair, as 57 per cent of people surveyed still intend to grow the same numbers of flowers as before and only six per cent plan to grow less.

Tomatoes were voted the favourite crop by 89 per cent of those growing vegetables, followed by salad leaves, potatoes, runner beans and carrots. Sadly it does seem recent press reports of the cauliflower's demise may prove correct, with just five out of 850 respondents saying they intended to grow this beleaguered vegetable. 63 per cent of vegetables will be grown in pots and containers, but nearly one in two gardeners now have a dedicated vegetable bed in which to grow them. Perhaps unsurprisingly 15 per cent of respondents now grow their vegetables on an allotment, backing up the National Trust reporting a significant uplift in requests.

According to Adam Pasco, editor of Gardeners' World magazine: "What better way to beat the credit crunch than by growing your own crops from seed, a simple skill every gardener should learn and pass on to the next generation. And as well as saving money, growing your own is eco-friendly and terrific exercise. The free seeds packs with the latest Gardeners' World magazine should give you the ideal incentive to get growing this spring."

March's Gardeners' World magazine sees the experts continue the flowers versus vegetables debate with Alan Titchmarsh arguing the case for vegetables and Carol Klein arguing for flowers. Two different front covers have been designed, one carrying free tomato and chilli seeds and one with free sunflower and Californian poppy.

Top 10 vegetables

  1. Tomatoes
  2. Salad leaves
  3. Potatoes (any type)
  4. Runner beans
  5. Carrots
  6. Peas
  7. Courgettes
  8. Onion
  9. Beetroot
  10. Rhubarb

i) Gardeners' World is the market leading gardening magazine with 221,180 monthly readers.
ii) 850 members of BBC Gardeners' World magazine online reader panel responded to the survey. The reader panel is made up of readers of BBC magazines who were contacted by email.

Toby Hicks

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