Identifying the great British gardener
Gardening is attracting a new audience, with more people keen to 'have a go'. Find out who they are.
As we enter into a new decade what do we know about British gardeners and their attitudes towards gardening? Are more people gardening? Do more people enjoy gardening? What is the average age of a gardener? The answers to these questions (and others) are instrumental in helping the industry effectively provide for the needs of the gardener.
Back in 2006 an HTA report “The Great British Gardener” was published which provided a detailed profile of the population of Great Britain’s attitudes towards gardening and their gardens. The latest HTA Garden Industry Monitor (GIM) research revisits the questions posed in that report to see how our attitudes and actions towards gardening have changed over the last ten years.
Time spent working on the garden
There has been an overall increase in the average time spent working on the garden in the main growing season over the last four years, bringing the average time towards the peak reached in 2001 – the time when the TV garden makeover programmes were high profile.
In 2009 the average time spent working on the garden was 3.9 hours per week during the main season – this rises to 9.4 hours for the very keen gardeners and reduces to 2.6 hours for the time restricted marginal gardeners.
We are spending more time gardening.
Enjoyment of gardening
Our enjoyment of gardening is on the up as well with 66% of all those that have somewhere to grow plants saying that they enjoy gardening either a little or a lot. This is the highest recorded level since we started measuring enjoyment levels. Importantly the percentage of people who say that they enjoy gardening a lot has risen from 33% in 2001 to 36% in 2009.
Our enjoyment of gardening the highest it has ever been.
Interest in gardening
Our interest in gardening is at a level last seen at the time of the garden makeover programmes in 2001. Around half of those who have somewhere to grow plants are interested in gardening – with 25% very interested and 34% quite interested. This illustrates well how with our busy lives gardening is just one of the interests that make up our leisure time.
More people are once again becoming interested in gardening.
Following on from the last point when we look at people’s garden intentions 29% of gardeners say that they would do more gardening if they had more time. On average 57% of gardeners would like to do more gardening if they had either more time, knowledge or received better results from their efforts.
Time is a major constraint in preventing us from doing more gardening.
Knowledge of gardening
Overall our knowledge of gardening has remained fairly static over the last ten years. Only 6% of all those who have somewhere to grow plants claim to have a very good knowledge of gardening, with 35% saying their knowledge is quite good and 44% saying that their knowledge is not very good or poor. This presents a great opportunity for garden retail outlets to help increase gardening knowledge, particularly of marginal gardeners, through leaflets, events and knowledgeable staff imparting advice and information.
Levels of gardening knowledge have not altered significantly over the last decade.
Who are the gardeners?
In 2009 the average age of someone who gardens is 54 (in 1999 it was 51). This rises to 59 and 63 for very keen and quite keen gardeners respectively (this compares to 54 and 57 in 1999). The average age of the marginal gardener is 47 (up 4 years from the 1999 figure). There is still a gender divide with women making up 57% of all gardeners. This rises to 59% for the proportion of keen gardeners who are female.
The average age of the keen gardener is increasing.
Garden Industry Opportunities
The findings of this latest GIM research into attitudes and trends in gardening are extremely positive for the industry with interest in and time spent gardening at levels last seen in the heyday years of the TV garden makeover programmes at the beginning of the new millennium.
Enjoyment of gardening is at an all time high and as indicated by the huge growth in ‘grow your own’ categories experienced over the last couple of seasons, we are seeing a generation of new gardeners having a go. This is backed up by the increase in the number of marginal gardeners (and the corresponding reduction in the number of people who are ‘hostile’ to gardening). As a nation we are time poor with many demands being placed on our precious leisure time. Many gardeners would like to spend more time gardening and marginal gardeners are looking for projects and solutions that can be achieved in a time effective way. With levels of gardening knowledge remaining relatively static over the last ten years many gardeners, especially marginal gardeners, will be looking towards garden retail outlets and their websites for inspiration and knowledge. Through holding events and demonstrations, to providing takeaway information and inspiration through knowledgeable staff, garden retailers are in a strong position to meet the needs of gardeners over the next decade and beyond.