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The TV presenter, 72, is delighted that young people make up most of the three million “lockdown gardeners” that have sprung up. He was speaking at the launch of a report which shows that 40 percent of 25 to 34-year-olds in the UK either gardened for the first time or have gardened more since Covid struck.
The former Gardeners’ World host told industry leaders: “The whole environmental approach is one in which we can enthuse the young.
“It is wonderful that 40 percent more have become involved these past few months of Covid with horticulture, with growing things.
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“Houseplants are sexy again. They were in the 1970s.
“They sort of fell out of favour. There are rooms now in student blocks that are like walking into a forest. Let’s capitalise on it.”
Other recent research has found that 83 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds think working with plants is “cool”.
Fifty-four percent say they would rather visit a garden centre than a nightclub.
The passion of young Britons could see the UK ornamental horticulture industry soar in value to £42billion and support 760,000 jobs by 2030, the research concluded.
Alan — who wants gardening to be taught at every primary school — noted how David Cameron had grouped gardening with litter-picking as an activity appropriate for punitive community work just a decade ago.
He said: “I did have a written apology [from Cameron] and he hasn’t said it again since.”
The report by forecasters at the Oxford Economics and Foresight Factory was commissioned by the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group.
Its chair Sue Biggs, director-general of the RHS, said investment in the horticulture and landscaping industries offers “so many benefits through increased tax revenues, improved physical and mental health and vital measures to combat climate change”.
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