Monty Don sparks backlash after ‘attack on industry that employs him’ – ‘How on earth?’
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Gardeners’ World host Monty Don, 65, told fans he doesn’t recommend garden lovers to buy “cheap, mass-produced disposable plants” but to grow them at home instead or buy them locally from small producers. “We should each own the impact of what we buy and how it contributes to carbon emissions,” he wrote.
We do not expect it from someone within the industry.
James Alcaraz, BPOA chairman
He went on to say that “no garden centre should stock” peat or peat-grown plants and “if they do, then they are actively choosing to do harm”.
He continued: “Cheap mass produced houseplants and bedding potted into peat, cheers people up. There has to be an alternative that is just as accessible.”
While his job is to share his tips and advice, his comments have come under fire by garden centre staff, who stock the show’s magazine.
Alton Garden Centre director Andy Bunker has said he no longer wants to stock the publication as a result, according to Horticulture Week.
He said: “How on earth can you be a garden centre that’s advising your customers not to buy from you?”
He added he has advised other garden retailers to follow suit.
In response to the backlash, a Gardeners’ World magazine spokesperson told the publication: “In his regular column in the November issue of BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, Monty Don wrote of the need for gardeners to grow in harmony with the environment and reduce the risk of plant extinctions as a result of climate change.
“Monty called on both gardeners and the trade to find new alternatives to the use of peat, to help minimise gardening’s climate change impact.
“This is an area of enormous interest and concern to readers, and we also understand the depth of debate across the horticultural industry, as it seeks out ways to mitigate environmental damage.
“This is not a new topic for BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine or the gardening industry, of whom we are very supportive, and we have previously run opinions on both sides of this issue to enable balanced debate.”
The British Protected Ornamentals Association (BPOA) has also hit out at his comments, according to the Telegraph.
BPOA chairman James Alcaraz said: “I’m very saddened that Monty Don has felt the need to yet again attack the industry that employs him.
“We are all used to politicians, Trump, Bush, Boris etc. etc. saying particularly stupid things but we do not expect it from someone within the industry.
“I should accuse Monty Don of being bad for the environment, all the hot air and CO2 that is emitted from his lips, no amount of tree planting could balance out his personal carbon footprint.”
He added: “I offer an open clinvitation to Monty Don and the BBC to come and meet some of the nurseries and people who are spearheading a lot of the work being done, in order to educate both him and the BBC on the true facts of life.”
Express.co.uk has contacted a representative for Gardeners’ World Magazine for comment.
Monty has been fronting the popular BBC series since 2003.
As well as sharing his tips on the show and in his regular column with the magazine, he also responds to queries from his followers on Twitter.
Earlier this week, a fan asked if more new episodes of the programme could be aired over the winter period.
He replied: “Not in our hands I am afraid. That kind of decision is made on high (at least, higher than any of us).”
He previously tweeted he had finished filming from his home for the year and told fans to look out for the new series in March.
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