The shrill nature of today’s news

Compelling interview with Alan Titchmarsh on the modern social-media-driven world.

Alan Titchmarsh at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Credit Petra Hoyer Millar

Claire Allfree reports in the Telegraph, that despite firmly flying the flag for industry and it’s gardeners, the “David Attenborough of horticulture” is worried he is “becoming out of step with how some people think”. Increasingly anxious about saying something that might offend, Titchmarsh explains that there is “an ever-growing faction of people that endeavours to say you think this or that, even if that might not be what you said or what you meant. Tolerance should work both ways. And I don’t feel it always does entirely.”

The nation’s favourite gardener, found himself in the hot seat recently when he argued noisy garden machinery shouldn’t be used on a Sunday. “I was only arguing for a bit of peace and quiet. Everyone is so cross these days”, he said. Add to that the furor about his (and Monty Don’s) views on rewilding. “The problem with rewilding is that people seem to think the only thing worth growing are English native plants. But that’s not what rewilding means. If you’ve got lots of flowers, it doesn’t matter where they come from as long as they have nectar and pollen for the bees and the butterflies.”

He has no intentions to retire just yet, but Titchmarsh did admit his genuine fear of the cancel culture to Allfree. “It makes you very careful about what you say, and if the point ever came when that strain and that worry became too much, for me or my family, I think I’d say, enough. I’ll go. This is the first time I’ve ever admitted that.”