Show Ponies vs Pit Ponies

Show Ponies vs Pit Ponies

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Rolls Royce in garden

Charlie Bloom’s show garden GWL 2013

Right, flouncy wide brimmed straw hat (Harvey Nicks): Check…. Floral summer dress (Whistles): Check…. Sunglasses, over sized (Chanel): Check….tasteful shirt and slacks (who knows my wife bought them on my credit card) Check…. Lets summon the god of Prosecco and go to the show.

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.

“In an age where the average Joe is struggling to pay their electricity bill, such portrayal of an industry is highly off putting to the majority”

Suddenly out of nowhere and dazzling ejected from the MotherShip, our screens are alight with the creme de la creme of the industry, creativity, trend setting, colour, razzamatazz, big hats, big handbags, big names and BIG wallets.

In an age where the average Joe is struggling to pay their electricity bill, such portrayal of an industry is highly off putting to the majority, who observe only the edit. Smiling, happy, rich people all out on a jolly and generally all over forty. I appreciate The RHS have made some effort to encourage youngsters into the fray. Yet it is at grass roots level that such effort needs desperate attention.

“The industry needs to be portrayed somewhere in the middle, a compromise between show pony and pit pony”

The reality of being a professional gardener, landscaper or designer is a far cry from dressing up like Princess Anne each day and buying exotic bulbs. Beyond the edit is an industry full of professionals who are constantly weighing up creativity vs paying the bills. I have talked to numerous landscaping professionals who try as they might cannot find apprentices to learn the trade, designers whose artistic integrity is directly squeezed due to the logistics of finding financial backing and support from the powers that be, professional qualified gardeners who are undercut day in, day out by the ungoverned man with a van and his rusty old strimmer and this is how we try and enthuse the next generation of professionals? Feed them a diet of this is dull old fashioned bullsh*t………unless you’ve got pots of cash?

Charlie Bloom Tea Party

Charlie Bloom’s Show Garden RHS Hampton Court 2015

The industry needs to be portrayed somewhere in the middle, a compromise between show pony and pit pony, a vocation that is open to all whatever background or financial status. Then and only then will it find a solid new following.

 

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  1. 1
    Katherine Crouch

    No floppy hat, no floral dress, no sunglasses….me and my pals usually garden in clothes too shamefully old, misshapen and filthy to even pass on to a charity shop. And we are also generally also old, misshapen and filthy. The garden media, whether books, apps or TV, is probably not ready for this level of reality. Also much of real gardening is like housekeeping, boring and repetitive and hard work. That also does not make for exciting entertainment…I really ought to make myself sound more windswept and interesting….

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