Much-loved British organic gardener Monty Don has refused to cave in to pressure from pesticide manufacturers and advocate chemical gardening on his BBC TV show, Gardeners’ World, reports the UK Daily Telegraph.
The problem started when Monty described in a 20-second sequence how he had found a lily beetle (Lilioceris lilii) on a fritillary plant in his garden.
“The only way to get rid of them is to look for them, hand pick them and then destroy them,” he said.
Pesticide manufacturers promptly wrote an article for a horticultural journal complaining that Monty had failed to mention that pesticides could also fix the bugs.
The BBC, in the name of impartiality, duly promised that greater efforts would be made to mention pesticides on the show. “Monty often mentions non-organic alternatives and we will endeavour to ensure this is more consistent in future,” the Beeb’s response said.
But Monty (whose most recent series, Monty Don’s Italian Gardens, was screened on the ABC this year) was having none of it.
“Those are not my views and I want to set the record straight,” he was quoted as saying in The Telegraph. “The BBC can issue any statement they like but I can assure you I will not be promoting or advocating any non-organic products.
“It is a classic case of the BBC not wanting to offend anyone and being level handed and even and trying to be fair and reasonable – but at the same time getting it wrong... I won't ever advise anyone to do anything inorganically."
As well as being a TV presenter and author, Monty also happens to be president of the Soil Association, the UK’s leading organic charity and certifier.