Chelsea Flower Show: Carol Klein explains prairie planting

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Ms Klein returns to screens at 7pm this evening on Channel 5’s Gardening with Carol Klein. The show sees the gardening guru give her insight on everything from edibles to ornamentals. The veteran gardener also reveals how plants growing in the wild give clues on how they can thrive in any space.

Ms Klein made her television debut on the BBC’s Gardeners’ World in 1989 and has been a permanent fixture on the show since 2005.

In a September 2019 interview, the gardening expert encouraged viewers to grow edible produce in their gardens, insisting it would offer escapism from the uncertainty of Brexit. 

At the time speculation remained as to how Britain would leave the EU with an impending October 31 deadline to decide on the horizon. 

Ms Klein told House Beautiful: “It’s natural that if people think things like fruit and veg are going to go up in price, or even not be available, then they might start thinking about growing their own. 

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“Cultivating your garden is one of the best things to do for your health and well being, and in fact can be an antidote to all the Brexit hoo-ha.”

The “growing your own” gardening trend is not new to Britain, with the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign having seen over half of households grow their own fruit and veg during World War 2.

Ms Klein added: “With a bit of uncertainty about what will happen with Brexit, those people who are interested in growing but haven’t taken the plunge yet, could be thinking now is the right time to start.”

Ms Klein has long been an advocate of gardening as a means of improving mental health.

In June this year she even called on the Government to allow everyone access to community gardens in a bid to help mental and physical health. 

The Gardeners’ World presenter insisted the Government pull their “finger out” to allow access to allotments for all. 

Ms Klein told Radio Times: “There should be a moratorium on building on community gardens and allotments for speculative housing. 

“We should be given more land, not have it stolen from us. 

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“Why shouldn’t every council provide community gardens with funding from the central government?

“It would be cheap and beneficial ‒ an immeasurable return on a small investment.”

She added: “So pull your finger out, Government, let’s have access to allotments for all and make stand-alone gardening lessons a part of the national curriculum.

“It should be a right for all children to get their hands in the soil.”

Gardening has increased massively in popularity over the last year and a half.

One survey of consumers by Freedonia Group, which was conducted last December, found that more than a quarter of respondents started gardening because of the pandemic.

Ms Klein explained that now was time that we “reinstate our right to grow and cultivate” and noted that coronavirus had shown how vital it was to connect with nature.

She said: “It has become a cliché to say that gardening improved our mental and physical health.

“Why? How? Because we are doing something real, something that enables us to see the importance of plants to our planet, a step closer to acknowledging how the world works and to playing a part, however tiny, in safeguarding its future.”

Watch Gardening with Carol Klein at 7pm tonight on Channel 5.

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