Old Art, New Blood. Time to shake up the Old School

Old Art, New Blood. Time to shake up the Old School


With the surname Bloom it seems tragically ironic I’d end up in this game, the child of two scientists, one a part time politician, a degree in Politics and a job in The City, my future seemed well and truly fixed. Marry a banker, live in Hertfordshire and drive a Range Rover. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately my creative streak was a constant Maverick force of disruption and after four years treading the Tarmac, tolerating fat red faced brokers and endless wasteful excess, I catapulted myself out of the rat race and into ‘Horticulture’.

“media revolving around the subject depicted middle aged jolly old farts endlessly tugging out parsnips”

Now here’s the rub, Why? Why choose this as a new path, well the answer was easy, it was a cop out job, low stress levels, limited responsibility. It’s what people did when they had finished a ‘proper career’, made some money, could choose to do something else, a hobby job. All media revolving around the subject depicted middle aged jolly old farts endlessly tugging out parsnips, nipping out new shoots and dressed like Wurzel Gummage. My point is not much has really changed and in a media savvy world where trends are made online by quick thinking, creative and enthusiastic individuals, the world of horticulture is still plugging away (no pun intended) in its ancient mud encrusted wellies discussing trowel weights and asparagus tips, it is in short bloody Dull!

“Very few youngsters want to become part of an industry that is still depicted in the mass media as the hobby of their arthritic grandad”

Attempts have been made to ‘jazz’ up the industry in the media world, yet utterly unrealistic garden make overs, hosted by the same old faces bumbling on about Latin cultivars really is not going to cut it in this age of social and youth led media.

Rolls Royce in garden

Recently I attended The BALI Awards and it was made very clear that without massive input into seducing youngsters into the industry, there was, very soon going to be a fundamental shortage of a talented, creative and enthusiastic workforce. Very few youngsters want to become part of an industry that is still depicted in the mass media as the hobby of their arthritic grandad.

“creative energy has enthused and invigorated a tidal wave of interest in ‘old arts'”

I have watched with amazement as innovative production companies have plucked the seemingly dull pastimes of the over fifties and entirely re-invented them, through interactive, inclusive and funky programming, Young, hip presenters, twinned with zany experts have exploded traditional baking, sewing and tailoring into the mainstream. The creative energy has enthused and invigorated a ti
dal wave of interest in ‘old arts’, by injecting a life saving dose of ‘new blood’.

Horticulture is no different, only when the industry can step away from its intrinsic desire to stay utterly stale, and embrace Mavericks, creatives and those that do not want to be part of the Old School will it throw off the hospital gown and check out of Intensive Care.


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  1. 1

    Firstly may I confess to being a veg ( very old gardener ) and one who is coming to the finish of a full time career in horticulture since leaving school. However what I’m am constantly pleased by is the number of young , knowledgable and enthusiastic people now working in and managing some of this countries most iconic gardens. Through the much increased horticultural training schemes there is much more opportunity for young people to advance quickly in this profession . Anyone visiting gardens regularly will be able to see this is true and I would agree it’s the media in print or on tv who seem to insist in the myth that you are not knowledgeable enough until you reach old age , I’m certainly still learning from anyone whatever their age . Check out the PGG website or follow YoungHorts on twitter for some idea of what’s about .

  2. 2
    Paul Steer

    Well speaking as an old fart I too am tired of watching other old farts picking parsnips. I think that there is so much more out there in the world of making gardens than that – but most media output is just a repeat of how to sow a parsnip ….. Help us Charlie Bloom – both old and young.

  3. 3
    Garden show ponies versus pit ponies Charlie Bloom blog

    […] My last blog introduced my concern with how the media portrays the gardening industry to the mass audience and how I fear both youth and the savvy creative are indifferent to its existence. Other than the weekly diet of garden maintenance ‘old peoples home’ stylie and the make over trend shows hosted by old names playfully patronising the latest youthful stooge, we also have, annually the grand theft auto of the gardening world calendar, The Show!!!!! Surely you’d say, this should encourage both youth and creativity to step into the industry, I would argue such media portrayal does the industry no justice what so ever and here’s why. […]

  4. 4
    Katherine Crouch

    I am part old fart and part maverick. I have never understood why TV gardening has a terrible urge to teach the same tired old lessons – seed planting and parsnip pulling. Did Top Gear get popular by featuring How to Change Gear Smoothly and Parallel Parking for beginners? No, it just celebrated all that was fun and bonkers about cars most of us don’t even want to drive and was absolutely riveting. Please, a gardening item on spotting warm patches on roofs on a frosty morning from the Drug Squad helicopter, the subsequent bust, and how they should have used ventilation and an LED system instead of halogen lights……can we please have a gardening programme after the 9pm watershed? I might be back by the pub by 9 on a Friday night, I always miss Gardeners’ World because I have a life.

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