Festivals, Flower Shows and TV Programmes Inspired Gardening Trends in the 80s
By Jane Duncan, freelance writer
June 08 2022
Botanic Man was one of many books written by David Bellamy during the 1970s and 80s. First published in 1978, this is the 1981 edition. It is based on the 1978 Thames Television series shown on ITV in the UK.
Naturally Wild Back Yards
While exhibition festivals drew attention to new manufactured garden features such as decking and crazy paving, the enthusiastic botanist and TV presenter, David Bellamy showed people how their gardens could be teeming with insects, birds and other wildlife. Throughout the 80s, he entertained and inspired generations of nature-lovers with his passion and enthusiasm for the natural world.
Neatly Manicured gardens
In contrast, gardeners also found inspiration from the neatly manicured exhibition gardens featured at the Chelsea Flower Show. The show was first televised in 1983, and presented by the horticulturalist Alan Titchmarsh, before he became a household name. With a rise in the popularity of neat lawns edged by regimental bedding plants, the straight lines of a typical garden were only broken up by a rockery, the must-have garden feature of the decade.
While Titchmarsh was just beginning his long TV career, Percy Thrower was already a well-known presenter and gardening expert. Anyone who watched Blue Peter as a kid in the 80s will have fond memories of Percy Thrower’s gardening features on the show, but will also have shared his dismay when his carefully designed Italianate sunken garden was famously vandalised in 1983.
With no shortage of inspiration from garden festivals, flower shows and TV programmes, the 80s saw a resurgence in gardening. Enthusiastic presenters on popular shows encouraged more people to get out in their gardens, whether it was to create a low maintenance backyard to encourage wildlife or a more formal design embracing the very latest garden trends.
Quick Tips for Better Gardening - hardcover book by Percy Thrower. Published by Littlehampton Book Services LTD in 1985