Lack of gardening knowledge causing millennial muck-ups, research reveals

Research out by gardening industry supplier Gardena has revealed a crisis of knowledge amongst the UK and particularly the millennial generation when it comes to their green-fingered pursuits.

Whilst gardening remains a much-loved past time for 83% of Brits, the fact is many are completely clueless, with 89% admitting they lack confidence in at least one area of gardening.

Lawn maintenance was cited as the biggest problem area for almost a third (29%) of Brits, followed by soil and ground work (23%), and a fifth of Brits (19%) felt at a complete loss when it came to knowing when to plant or pick things in the garden.

Watering know-how was an issue for one in ten budding UK gardeners too, with one in six admitting their grass or plants had died as they’d simply forgotten to water them, and 8% confessed to killing their garden with ‘kindness’ after over-watering.

Millennials also struggled to identify some basic gardening equipment; with one in five (21%) unsure what a garden hose is, and more than half (56%) had never heard of secateurs. The older generation seem to know their trowel from their hose, but even a third (33%) of the over 55s had never encountered a weeder before, and 80% of all Brits had never heard of a grubber – a common tool for digging up plants.

Mixed-up millennials were also confused over common plants and flowers – a quarter of under 24s were unfamiliar with daffodils and lavender, more than half (54%)had no idea what a marigold was, and only eight in 100 could distinguish bougainvillea. In fact, bougainvillea were the least recognisable plant for 80% of Brits, but the three which most people recognise with ease are roses (93%), sunflowers and daffodils (92%).

Traditionally potting and planting knowledge would have been passed down through the family, but today, a quarter of Brits (25%) turn exclusively to YouTube or other online sources for their gardening know-how. Amazingly, the instructions found on the back of seed packets, potted flowers or plants account for the biggest source of gardening knowledge for Brits, with 39% claiming that is where they garner their gardening information, and more than a third (38%) still go to Mum or Dad with any gardening questions. In a nod to community spirit, a fifth (20%) ask elderly friends and neighbours for advice.

Watering is a particular area of confusion for British gardeners – almost a quarter (23%) admit they regularly forget to water their grass or plants, one in five (18%) have no idea how much they should be watering their garden, and 17% confess it’s hard to find the time to water the garden amongst work and family life. More than half (60%) of all Brits actively try not to waste water in the garden, but worryingly, one in ten of the under 24s questioned often leave a hose or sprinkler on, and completely forget about it – a concern for water wastage.

Despite this crisis of confidence and knowledge, gardening is still a much loved hobby for a third (34%) of Brits, with 83% saying they ‘like gardening’. Half of those questioned consider gardening as the perfect way to unwind and more than one in five (22%) even use it as a workout.

Making the garden look as attractive as possible for friends and family to enjoy came out as the biggest incentive to work hard in the garden (59%), but for more than one in ten (13%) competitive Brits, it’s a case of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’  as they cite wanting a better looking garden than their neighbour. In an encouraging nod to the growing eco-conscious trend, more than a quarter (29%) of Brits maintain their garden as they love growing their own produce for their family.

Gardena UK national account manager Paul Simpson commented: “It is very common for new gardening enthusiasts to have gardening ‘disasters’ or be intimidated by the different tools on offer. However, there are simple tips and tricks when it comes to gardening that people just don’t know; like mowing the lawn in the evening, and leaving the grass cuttings out, to act as a shield against the sun.

“We are convinced that if millennials knew how to use their gardening tools more efficiently, they could see greater rewards from their gardens and eliminate common mistakes made in the garden.”