Gardening’s revival shows retirees have always been at the cutting edge of fashion

Blog posted

20th July 2018 - By Oscar Russell

Something is happening in Britain. No, it’s not just a prolonged wave of good weather, but a prolonged love affair with all things green. 

Whether it is cutting the grass, working on a new flowerbed, or growing your own veg, gardening has always been a quaint pastime associated with retirement.

Of course, we know that association is no bad thing, but unfortunately that perception hasn’t exactly helped encourage a new generation of green fingers.

Even when gardening experienced a renaissance on television during the 90s and early 00s with shows such as Ground Force and Irish-talking garden designers making waves at the Chelsea Flower Show, the result wasn’t as striking as what we’re experiencing today.

In fact, the Chelsea Flower Show reveals just how much has changed over the years. In an article for the Daily Express, Alan Titchmarsh said: “When I started going, as a lad, it was full of tweedy country gents going round with their gardeners in tow, and society types out for the first airing of the season.

“You might have spotted the odd photographer, but publicity wasn’t courted.”

Now garden and flower shows, such as Chelsea and Hampton, couldn’t avoid the publicity even if they wanted to – especially when you have celebrities like TV host, model and fashion designer Alexa Chung attending.

“Who?!”, you say. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, but trust me, she’s famous. Put it this way, when someone posts a picture of some flowers on Instagram that receives more than 40,000 ‘likes’, that’s a fairly good indication that people are paying attention to what she does.

The point is, gardening is fashionable among the young again. Quirky, industrial chic flower shops have sprung to life all over the capital and beyond, and more millennials are trying their hand at growing their own veg.

In fact, millennials are spending more on gardening on average than over 55s, according to research. The same survey also found that 28% of millennials (generally those born between 1981 and 1996) are growing their own fruit and vegetables.

It’s great that the nation is getting to grips with gardening again, but it’s something retirees have been doing for years. Clearly, our residents are the real trendsetters when it comes to growing your own veg or planting petunias, as many make use of the allotments in the villages and communal gardens.

Marilyn Duncan, 78, moved to Elmbridge Village from her home in north London such was her desire to have an allotment.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, she said: “It was the main criteria for me when I was looking for a retirement property. I had never been to Surrey before and didn’t know anyone. If I am feeling a bit down, I go to the allotment and am in a completely different world. I’ve also seen others become livelier when they are gardening. We even have a few in their 90s.”

Marilyn now heads up the allotment programme alongside resident Michael Buckoke, with 22 of the residents at Elmbridge Village ‘growing their own’.

Residents at Moat Park have even done their bit to encourage the next generation to follow in their footsteps, when a local girl guides group chipped in to help with the gardening.

But what good is a glorious garden or allotment if you can’t occasionally sit back and enjoy the view? Fortunately, residents moving into Roseland Parc’s The Walled Garden can do just that, with stunning views of the village grounds and Cornish countryside.

If you want to read more on allotments, gardens, the great outdoors and the endless stream of other activities happening in a retirement village, request a free copy of our latest magazine Village Life or speak to one of our team on 01732 383950.


Oscar Russell

Oscar Russell

Group Estates Director

Oscar joined Retirement Villages in 2014, and has overall responsibility for ensuring the smooth operation and management of the villages and their estates. Oscar previously worked in the Leasehold Block Management sector, managing large portfolios in and around London for some of the leading house builders and developers. Oscar is a Member of the Institute of Residential Property Management (MIRPM) and an Associate of RICS.