Homebase survey suggests that grandparents could be the secret-weapon in helping Britain maintain its reputation as a nation of gardeners

Milton Keynes, UK, 2015-5-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — As Britain’s best garden designers and horticulturists celebrate their successes at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, a survey from Homebase, one of the UK’s biggest garden retailers, reveals that the nation’s gardening know-how is in danger of being lost to future generations.

The survey, which questioned people about their gardening knowledge to discover who is teaching the younger generation basic gardening skills, suggests that grandparents could be the secret-weapon in helping Britain maintain its reputation as a nation of gardeners.

The results show that nearly 40 per cent of 16-24 year olds learnt about gardening from their grandparents, compared to just under three per cent who say they learnt it at school.

It follows research by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) that showed that only one per cent of today’s parents were taught how to garden compared to 55 per cent of grandparents.[1]

Gardening has long been at the heart of the British way of life but this lack of green-fingered knowledge amongst today’s parents’ means it may be in jeopardy, highlighting the crucial role of grandparents in educating future generations.

Thee survey also revealed that 42 per cent of grandparents say they are passing their gardening expertise on to their grandchildren with one in five (20 per cent) saying they wanted to teach their grandchildren about gardening because they’re not learning it in school or from other family members.

Graham Heald, Retail and Distribution Director at Homebase, which carried out the research, said: “For many people their first experience of gardening comes from spending time in the garden with their grandparents. Over half (55 per cent) of respondents said they had fond memories of this, from planting flowers and seeds, to growing vegetables and mowing the lawn.

“We know first-hand from our students in the Homebase Garden Academy – an initiative we set up to help unearth Britain’s next generation of gardening talent – just how important grandparents can be in passing on valuable gardening knowledge. Many of our students say it was their grandparents who gave them their love of gardening and inspired them to pursue it as a career.”

Today, (22nd May) Homebase is launching its third annual Garden Academy and is urging anyone over 16 with a passion for gardening and who wants to learn more, to apply for one of the 20 places

Graham continued: “Wherever your love of gardening comes from whether it’s from grandparents, parents or even the Chelsea Flower Show, we want to help develop that passion into a career. Who knows, we might even uncover the next generation of Chelsea medal winners”

Mike Gogerty, a student in this year’s Academy, said: “I love gardening and memories of helping my Grandma plant flowers and vegetables stayed with me as I grew up. She encouraged me to learn and helped me develop a passion for garden design by encouraging me to give it a go, even from an early age. I still look to her for gardening advice now. I’d urge anyone who’s thinking about gardening as a career to give the Garden Academy a go.  It’s an amazing opportunity to learn from the very best and is a fantastic stepping stone to a really rewarding career.”

One of the highlights for this year’s 18 students has been working with award-winning garden designer, Adam Frost, to build and plant The Homebase Urban Retreat Garden in association with Macmillan Cancer Support at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The garden has been designed as a community garden where people from all generations can come together and share their passion and knowledge for gardening, and enjoy community life.

Adam Frost said: “Some of my earliest memories of gardening are of working on my Grandfather’s allotment and I suppose it’s that that really inspired me to want to learn more and turn it in to a full-time job.

“Britain is a nation of gardeners and the Garden Academy is all about encouraging the next generation to carry on that mantel. For a lot of the students, and many other gardeners out there, it’s their grandparents that gave them their first taste of it. If my Granddad could see me now building my seventh Show Garden at the Chelsea Flower he’d be bowled over. It just goes to show what the smallest seed can grow in to.”

For more information or to apply visit homebase.co.uk/garden-academy.

Ends

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Note to Editors:

Case studies
Mike Gogerty worked in care before deciding to turn his passion for gardening into a career. He says that his love of gardening came from helping his Grandma in her garden as a child and from her showing him how to grow plants in her green house.  It was after she set him a challenge to help her design her garden that he decided to take it to the next level.

Mike said: “I love gardening and memories of helping my Grandma plant flowers and vegetables stayed with me as I grew up.  She always encouraged me to learn as much as I could about it and helped me develop a passion for garden design by encouraging me to give it a go, even from an early age. I still look to her for gardening advice now.’

Aiste Monkeviciute also remembers spending summers with her grandmother, growing vegetables, fruit and flowers that they would sell at the local market.  She says that it is this that inspired her to carry on gardening and that she feels passionate about passing that knowledge on to the next generation.

“It’s vital for young people to learn about the importance of plants and how simple it can be to grow them.  My grandmother taught me my first basic gardening skills.  She made gardening fun and encouraged me to grow my own food.  I hope I can do the same one day.”

Stephen Christie, an Academy student from Edinburgh, is following his Granddad’s lead by training to be a gardener.   Having helped him from an early age, working in the family gardening business, Stephen hopes that his training at the Garden Academy will enable him to one day take over from him.

About the research
The research for Home Retail Group – Homebase was carried out by Opinion Matter between: 10/03/2015 and 22/03/2015.

Sample: 2,034 UK adults (including 809 grandparents)

All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act (1998).

About HomebaseHomebase is a leading home enhancement retailer with around 58 million transactions a year, selling around 38,000 products for the home and garden. It has 296 large, out-of-town stores throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland and a growing internet offering at www.homebase.co.uk. In the financial year to February 2015, Homebase sales were £1.5 billion and it employed some 17,000 people across the business.

Homebase is part of Home Retail Group, the UK’s leading home and general merchandise retailer.

[1] Findings from a survey conducted by the RHS in 2011. www.rhs.org.uk

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Grandmother and grandson in the garden

Grandmother and grandson in the garden