Do celebrity gardening endorsements and new ranges actually compel you to pick up a trowel? Jamie Oliver’s launched a new grow-your-own range at Homebase – but will he convince us to get our hands dirty?
Not content with penning bestselling cookery books, revolutionising school dinners, opening restaurants and launching a ‘dream school’ – Jamie Oliver now wants us to grow our own.
He’s just launched a range of seeds, plants, compost and outdoor cooking equipment at DIY retailer Homebase. They’re apparently ‘working together to encourage the British public to eat well and understand where their food comes from.’
Celebrity gardening endorsements deep-rooted
The seeds in Jamie’s range are actually nothing new – they’re readily available in other seed ranges and often at a lower price.
While some of them are Which? Best Buys, a few, such as Florence fennel, are tricky for a beginner to grow. However, Jamie’s Head of Food Development (now that sounds like a nice job!) told us that the varieties were chosen with taste in mind.
Jamie’s not alone in collaborating with a major gardening retailer. Alan Titchmarsh gives gardening advice on the B&Q website and has recently been photographed posing with hoses and cabbages by fashion photographer Rankin – presumably to show that gardening is ‘cool’. Meanwhile, ex-Groundforce presenter Charlie Dimmock is back in the limelight as the face of Gardening Direct.
Does Jamie Oliver inspire you to grow veg?
But is Jamie’s face on a packet of radish or Alan extolling the virtues of a good mulch really going to get us reaching for a trowel?
It feels like every day that we get news of another ‘dig for victory’ or ‘Good Life’ campaign on the Which? Gardening newdesk, and the message seems to be getting through. Allotment waiting lists are at an all-time high and veg seeds now outsell flowers.
However, there are still plenty of people who have no interest in gardening and still more who probably wouldn’t have a clue where their food comes from.
According to recent research, 39% of garden owners claim to have a good knowledge of gardening. That’s great news – but that still means that a whopping 61% of people are a bit clueless. What’s more, only 23% of 25-34 year olds say they have good gardening knowledge. The 77% who don’t are exactly the people Jamie is hoping to win over.
Any grow-your-own convert will tell you that there’s nothing like the taste of home-grown veg. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. Gardening is good for you, and if Jamie, Alan and Charlie can convince a few more people of that, it can only be a good thing.