I don’t know if some words were altered and even the original Daily Telegraph copy leaves something to be desired in how it reports the impending possible/ probable loss of a great variety of horticultural material, ie bred named forms, diversity, varieties treasured, things kept going for generations, the product of clever hands and minds. In other words anything that is produced for a ‘mass market’ seems to be squeezing other more knowledgable specialist approaches. I found the article via MSN and clicked to the Telegraph original. It certainly could be better worded, to be clearer, to make the point far better; the loss of specialist growers and the lack of younger people to take on such a precarious business with often a low financial reward. Reads as if the writer possibly had no real understanding of the subject.
What they really meant is the nationwide network of SPECIALIST ENTHUSIAST plant nurseries is declining. The prospective not particulary knowledgeable or even totally unknowledgeable customer finds it easier to go to the big commercial garden centres where its often bought-in and all designed to sell and sell quickly. I can appreciate that position. That is good news in avoiding pot bound con-jobs, worst case recently was my unknowingly bought a £30 shrub from an unknowledgable so-called garden centre (non-specialist) ie a buyer-in of all material only to find half of the lower pot bound rootball sliced off to leave a disc four inches thick in a eight inch deep pot!
In other words the specialist growers are finding both that no-one wants to follow on after them and fewer people nowadays hunt out their specialist plants, that the general non-specialist garden centre ie plastic furniture, ornaments, novelties are one-stop shopping centre for most ordinary occasional gardeners; plants and shrubs are dealt with as if any other bought-in product. Like it or not we live in the here and now.
Its called the pushing aside of ‘knowledge and experience’ … things that if not presented or primarily existing within the screen are seemingly irrelevant to much of the population. Its not only the young apparently middle aged folk also seem bewitched by online activity.
I’ve said this for years, the ability to work with soil, to nurture, to create a worthwhile and ‘intelligent garden’ are quite rare and increasingly rare. An interesting illustration is my patch of the English lake District where its very difficult to find a small scale garden that instills any sense of depth or age, everywhere everything is never older than a decade. ie retirement then infirmity scupper what can be achieved over decades as the garden, the plot itself determines the winners and losers.
postscript: its hard to get the point across of basic soil husbandry with many people, ie how to garden. Each autumn I treasure the leaf fall as nourishment for the myriad soil inhabitants, worms, algae, mold, bacteria and its also an insulating blanket for the impending winter cold. Note bulbs by the end of September already are showing significant underground development, in waiting for the spring push. Likewise buds on trees by the September are set and waiting for the Spring dash! Yet so many unwitting households adore their silly garden vacuums and love to hoover away all that is set by nature to help them! And yes I’m aware of excessive leaf fall and the possible plague of midges, point taken. The so called ‘garden compost’ so beloved of the bbc r4 GQT I am most sceptical of, its not inherent in any truly natural system of organic soil development, can throttle off self sown seedlings in the established flower garden, is much over-rated in fact, most certainly it will kill off all your crocus! I build my compost heaps for the mice. I remember a customer trying to loosen up a v heavy clay soil with annual mulches of sand … my suggestion of a top dressing of FYM to aid worm and soil life development went totally unheeded. She had no realisation of Nature and nurture, establishing the right framework to aid her little assistants underground, yet lift up any lump of FYM and the life is teeming from under.