MONTY Don has opened up on fan fury surrounding the Chelsea Flower Show over claims it is 'too white and middle class'.
The TV star has admitted that there is an "element of truth" to the comments but insists that gardening and the Chelsea Flower Show is becoming more progressive.
The Royal Horticultural Society puts on the event annually but Monty insisted that they have 'no control' over who purchases tickets.
Monty, 67, addressed the mounting claims over the Flower Show in a column for the BBC Gardeners' World magazine.
He said: "The accusations against Chelsea are that it is a festival for the white, middle-aged, middle-class Home Counties.
"While there is an element of truth in that, it is a lazy jibe. The RHS cannot control who buys tickets."
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The star continued: "If that is a fault – and as a white, middle-aged, middle-class man raised in the Home Counties I feel a tad sensitive about this – then it is one that the whole of British horticulture has to attend rather than focusing on Chelsea."
He then defended the claims by insisting that gardening is moving forward and that underrepresented backgrounds and younger individuals are now more "enthusiastically" encouraged to partake.
The TV presenter added: "In fact, I think that it is missing the point. I do not think that gardening is the preserve of white, middle-aged, middle-class Home Counties people, although they can and do make lovely gardens and gardeners. The great change that is unfolding is that much younger gardeners are now welcomed enthusiastically.
"People from every background, race, colour and creed are central to how we garden, what we grow and critically how this relates to our nurture of the natural world. Climate change means that my children's and grandchildren's generations have a vital stake in how we act."
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He went onto further add that tackling important issues such as climate change was also down to younger people as he saw them as the future.
Monty believed that the Chelsea Flower Show was aiming to address all of this in the correct manner but still admitted that there is "much more" they can do to help it become a more welcoming and accessible space.
He said: "To the great credit of Chelsea, the show now actively addresses all of this and is trying to encourage and aid younger designers and growers, although I am sure it would be the first to admit there is much more it can and hopefully will do."
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