Plantshaming

Dear Joe Swift,

Yesterday, I saw you during the filming of gardeners question time at the Malvern Show but I was too shy to speak to you. You should perhaps be grateful about this as what I would have said may have been uncomfortable for you to hear (particularly whilst being filmed in front of a live audience). You see, some time ago I saw you on an episode of Gardeners World where you bemoaned the humble hanging basket. I can fully understand that hanging baskets are not everyone’s cup if tea but it was the specific comments that you made which really annoyed me.

You may have guessed that I am a hanging basket fan. My favourite day of the year is May bank holiday when I get my baskets planted up. I love going to my local garden centre, choosing the theme, putting together new planting combinations and experimenting with colours, textures and shapes. I love the deep sense of calm as I dig into the rich bags of compost, adding nutrients, slowly mixing everything together. I love the smell of the damp earth. I love taking my chosen plants out of their pots, assessing their root balls, checking their leaves and buds for signs of damage or disease as I ease them into their new homes. I love getting everything symmetrical. I love watching the plants take to their new positions and slowly begin to fill out. I love seeing the baskets transform into giant balls of colour. But not you. Oh no.

Joe Swift, you took it upon yourself to tell us that hanging baskets were “tacky”. That they were too gaudy. Too in your face. Effectively, you told me that my hanging baskets were common. Nasty. Working class.

How dare you.

I understand that everyone has their own taste when it comes to garden design. However, what I won’t tolerate is people putting down others. Making us feel bad for our design choices. Snobbishly looking down at us, the tasteless commoners, shamelessly buying our multipacks of trailing petunias in every day glow colour for maximum clashing effect. Well Joe Swift, not on my watch.

Our gardens are reflections of our personalities. If some of us like bold, bright flowers, don’t sneer at us for being working class. Class has no place in this argument. It should never be used as a measure of good taste. You don’t need to like a garden- you can objectively criticise that all you want – but don’t look down on it. Comments like the ones that you made petty, snobbish and shamefully rude.

I’d like an apology.

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