I think it was the RHS last year who stated that gardening had effectively skipped two generations. David Cameron then likened gardening to litter-picking and labelled it unskilled labour. Gardening at the moment, when people are working harder than ever to pay the bills, is at a really low ebb. It's such a shame as we all know the benefits we ourselves derive from our hobby, the childhood Christmas Day feeling you experience seeing the first sweet pea flower of the year, the taste of the first ripe tomato picked and seeing the bees return in the spring like an old friend.
Gardening has lost it's way a bit, in an age where society wants instant satisfaction (garden centres selling tomato plants with already fully ripe tommies on) we are facing a struggle. Things like local gardening clubs would do the world of good, allotment sites should invite local schools for visits and grow extra plants for the children to take home and we should all encourage our friends and family to take it up. Not because we know how to do things properly (or not most of the time in my case) but because we know the happiness sitting in the midst of summer garden brings, that hard work pays off and that really it's ok to be proud of something you've created.
I really hope this idea takes off, it's up to us though to try to make sure our enjoyment isn't wasted for another generation.
I don't agree with you on this, I'm 38 yrs old, and have become interested in gardening for about 6 or 7 years now. My friends also have become interested. I think most of us became interested due to having kids, and wanting to grow organic veg and fruit. Also to create places our kids can enjoy, as well as where the adults can relax. The driving force behind 'organic' gardening is price. I have 2 kids and a third of our grocery bill was fruit and veg. When my friends came around for BBQ's etc at first they were sceptical, but now a good few have a go at growing their own, mainly as I showed it wasn't hard, and most rewarding.
Statistics currently support this, in the 25-40 age group, interest in growing your own and also gardening in general has exploded in the last 5 years. This is bourne out by the length of waiting lists for allotments also. I think gardening is enjoying a resurgance, and this is likely to continue for the forseeable future. Most parents of any intelligence are encouraging their kids to grow produce and flowers, and this is also being encouraged by primary schools also.
I can't see the prices of organic fruit and veg going down anytime soon, I also doubt I'll find anything from a supermarket shelf will taste as good as homegrown.
Gardening clubs have declined, like many clubs, quite possibly due to the constant bombardment of 'selfishness' and 'looking after number one' advertising that is being rammed down everyone's throats. Consequently many people are suspicious of others, whereas before they would have socialised more freely.
Another rant for you GG, hope you liked it!
You can disagree if you like but I was using the RHS quote as a basis for my post. Whilst I accept that might not be true of your experience, they will have done a lot of research before stating it at Chelsea last year.