It is claimed, people under thirty-five are also the most enthusiastic about growing their own fruit and vegetables, says Stewart Garden, who conducted a sample study of UK gardeners .
The study measured the levels of involvement and average annual spend of people across the 25-34, 35-54 and 55+ age groups.
Based on the amount of time they spend on gardening, respondents were categorised as keen, occasional or rare.
Gardeners aged 25-34 spend more than those in the higher age groups, with an average annual outlay of £300 per head compared to the £240 per annum per head spent by 35-54 year olds and £200 by those aged 55 and over.
Nearly 30% of the money spent by keen gardeners under 35 goes on seeds, propagation, pots and hanging baskets, suggesting that this group is driving the grow your own movement. Some 88% of respondents in the group are actively growing fruit, vegetables and other plants from seeds or bulbs in these products. By contrast, just 23% of respondents age 55+ say they grow their own fruit and vegetables this way.
The study revealed that much of the use of pots and propagators among keen gardeners under 35 is attributable to limited outdoor space. The group is also the most likely to involve children with gardening and to prefer recyclable plastic products. Under 35s use the internet to research products and get new ideas and have a good idea of what they need when they arrive to shop at garden centres.
A significant finding across all age groups is the increasing preference for lightweight plastic planters compared to planting directly into the ground.
Gardeners in the 35-54 age group are revealed to be biggest users of compost (69%), suggesting that they may have larger gardens and, therefore, more space for larger products. This finding is consistent with the insight that many in this group grow their own produce in the ground, rather than in pots and hanging baskets.
Other significant findings from Stewart’s recent research study show that April – June is the busiest gardening period and that across all age groups, 46% would welcome more gardening advice and help in store.
Although gardeners under 35 are the key target audience for grow your own products, the 55+ age group accounted for 28% of respondents in the study, showing they are also hugely important to manufacturers and retailers of gardening products.
Whilst I, and many others, would like to see more young people getting into gardening I do find these findings a little hard to believe.
I'm sure that gardening is growing in popularity but I think the younger generations have less time than their silver haired peers.
Former business director of the HTA, Tim Briercliffe, was also suprised bt the study's findings and tweeted:
Earth friendly gardener, John Walker pulled no punches when he responded via Twitter, and said "It's a spin piece, obviously, so large pinch of salt needed."
Stewart Garden responded: "the primary research was carried out by a reputable firm with nearly 400 relevant participants".
I've written to Stewarts for more information on the criteria used in the study and I will report their response if and when I receive one.