Columnist calls for 'gardening' to be cancelled as word is 'full of cultural baggage'

Columnist calls for 'gardening' to be cancelled as word is 'full of cultural baggage'
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Jamie  Micklethwaite

By Jamie Micklethwaite

Published: 29/08/2022

- 15:43

Updated: 14/02/2023

- 10:42

James Wong has suggested ditching the term gardening to attract a wider audience of horticulturalists

A columnist has suggested the term "gardening" is cancelled as the word is full of "cultural baggage".

Writing in the Guardian, James Wong discussed what he described as an urgent need to get more people involved in gardening.

Mr Wong says gardening can reduce stress levels and even waiting times in hospitals, with humans having a physical need to be around plants.

One way, he suggests, is to ditch the term "gardening", which he claims is an inclusive term.

Undated Handout Photo of a woman handling large hyacinths in gloves. See PA Feature GARDENING Advice Hyacinths. Picture credit should read: Alamy/ PA. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Advice Hyacinths.
Gardening file photo
PA Features Archive/Press Association Images

He wrote: " I would argue that what can seem like generic terms to the initiated actually come loaded with cultural baggage.

In particular, those appended by the word 'proper', which suggests an incredibly narrow way in which to garden and an even narrower sense of just who is allowed to participate.

Despite having worked in the horticultural industry for almost two decades as a trained botanist, even I am rarely called a “proper” gardener when I attend a horticultural event."

Mr Wong added that he had been encouraged by the latest grassroots movement of younger gardeners on social media that don't use the term.

He also wrote: "To me, one of the key issues behind this is the many euphemisms for 'gardening' that are used, particularly online.

"Take a look at the hashtags they use and you’ll be presented with #plantdaddy, #plantparenthood, #crazyplantlady and #urbanfarmer.

"The words 'gardener' and 'gardening' feature rarely on these accounts which, ironically, are all about gardening."

Mr Wong has previously claimed that gardening has racism "baked into its DNA".

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