1 in 4 Brits Grow Their Own Herbs

Homegrown herbs are the best!

Do you enjoy gardening? Did you know that Easter weekend is always busy in garden centres in the UK, as it’s the perfect time to get started on the garden for the summer.

A recent study from online plant retailer Ashridge Trees has revealed some interesting facts and figures about the UK’s interest in gardening, nature and all things green. Grab a cup of java, settle back and keep up.

Gardening as a Hobby

From a detailed survey of 1,000 UK residents, an incredible 62% said they had a current interest in or enjoy gardening as a hobby, with 1 in 5 saying they are “very interested” in it. 18% said that while gardening wasn’t at present a hobby of theirs, it’s definitely something they’d like to enjoy in the future.

If we take a look at the numbers geographically, Northerners had some of the lowest gardening figures, with a third saying they had no interest in it at all. Those living in the East came up tops, with a combined interest (those who answered “very” or “somewhat” interested in gardening), at 67%.

Not surprisingly, three-quarters of those over 65 expressed the strongest interest in gardening, and this percentage diminishes in the lower age groups. 67% of those interviewed aged 55-64 said they were either “very” or “somewhat” interested in the hobby, while only half of those aged between 35-54 said the same.

Interestingly, interest picks up again in those aged 25-34, of whom 62% were fairly keen. Across all age groups, it was the 35-44s who expressed the strongest interest in starting gardening as a hobby.

Between men and women, women expressed a stronger interest in gardening, with 28% saying they were “very” interested over a lesser 17% of men.

Enjoying Nature

When asked how much time they spend outdoors whether in their garden or the local parks, 28% of those surveyed said that they “very often” spend time amongst nature, while 30% said “quite often”.

On the lower end, 15% of survey participants said they rarely or never spend time outdoors. 

Regionally, 41% of Welsh residents boast the largest portion of those saying they would “very often” spend time amongst nature, while 1 in 5 Northern residents represent the region with the largest percentage who say they rarely or never spend time outdoors.

Basil Purple Ruffles
Basil Purple Ruffles

The Kitchen Garden

You guys know me, I have a somewhat exotic garden. Every summer for almost 20 years now, I’ve been growing fresh tomatillos and Peruvian chillies. Those of you who receive my chilli newsletter will know this.

And having grown up in Singapore, there are some tropical herbs that I simply cannot live without, whether that’s kaffir lime leaves or Vietnamese Coriander (laksa leaves).

I know many of you love the idea of a herb garden.

Apparently, a quarter of those surveyed (24%) said they are already regularly growing herbs to use in cooking, while a third (29%) said they sometimes do this. In all, this is over half (53%) of all UK-based adults growing their own herbs to use in their kitchens. That’s a pretty impressive number!

Growing one’s own herbs for cooking is most popular among those aged 60+, of which 1 in 3 (29%) said they do so regularly, while another third (33%) say they do so “sometimes”.

Overall, over half of all Londoners (57%) are already growing their own herbs, with 32% saying that while they don’t currently do this, they would consider it in the future. Yay for urban gardening!

What are Britain’s Favourite Herbs?

The British public have spoken, and the most searched-for herb across the country is sage, closely followed by a joint second position of coriander and fennel. There are a number of joint places in the top 10, with chives, rosemary and thyme taking joint third.

You can view the full table below, with some surprising results. I wouldn’t have guessed fennel would be that high up, would you? I’m pleased to see borage make the list. Because I must have Pimm’s with borage to pretty it up!

Pimm's no. 1
Pimm’s, the quintessential British summer drink
2Coriander, Fennel
3Chives, Rosemary, Thyme
4Basil, Mint, Oregano
5Dill, Parsley, Sorrel, Myrtle
6Bay, Borage, Marjoram, Tarragon
7Chamomile, Mugwort, Peppermint

Who has the greenest fingers?

While it boasts some truly gorgeous public parks, most London homes don’t have massive garden space. And yet, it turns out that Londoners have quite the green fingers.

61% of survey participants in London expressed active and current interest in gardening as a hobby or pastime, with 1 in 5 saying they were “very interested” in it. That’s amazing, really.

What’s more, when asked how often they spend time amongst nature and the outdoors, a quarter of Londoners said that they do so “very often”, while 37% said they do so “quite often”. Across all regions, 9% of those in London ranked lowest for those who said they “rarely” or “never” spent time amongst nature, while 20% of Northerners ranked highest.

Perhaps not too surprisingly, given the colder and wetter conditions, this is not the case in the northern parts of the UK. A third said they had no interest in gardening as a hobby – the largest negative response across all regions surveyed.

In the same vein, 1 in 5 Northern residents say they rarely or never spend time outdoors!

But spring is here, and the outdoors will soon be filled with spectacular colours and aromas. Hopefully, much of which will come from your own gardens. 

In the meantime, fancy some ideas? Head on over to Ashridge Trees’ online store and get your favourites delivered to your doorstep!

I shall catch you later, enjoy the Easter weekend!

Lin xx

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