BLUE Peter’s former gardener has joined a Ryton-based charity to champion sustainable organic growing.
Garden Organic has appointed Chris Collins as Head of Organic Horticulture.
Chris will be the charity’s ‘voice’ – raising awareness of the work they do and the importance of organic and sustainable growing.
Chris is a familiar face to fans of green-fingered TV programmes, having hosted BBC2 series The Plantsman in 2002 before spending nine years as the resident gardener on the long-running children’s show Blue Peter.
Until recently the Head Gardener at Westminster Abbey, Chris has also appeared on The Chelsea Flower Show, Gardeners’ World, This Morning, Secret Gardens and presented BBC4 documentary Wonder of Weeds.
Chris says over 30 years of experience working as a professional horticulturalist – from Africa’s oldest botanical gardens in Cameroon to Japanese roof gardens, via Kew Gardens and Westminster Abbey – means he understands the challenges facing organic growers, and also the benefits they can reap.
He told The Observer: “It is a great honour for me to be joining the team at Garden Organic.
“I am a passionate believer in organic horticulture, not only for the environmental benefits it offers, but also for the role it can play in people’s social and spiritual wellbeing.
“Garden Organic’s principles and practices provide the perfect vehicle to engage people in this valuable subject.
Garden Organic’s chief executive James Campbell, said the appointment was an exciting new chapter for the charity.
He added: “With more and more of our population concerned about the chemical pesticides and herbicides we encounter every day, our charity needs to support people now more than ever in discovering that there is a better way – and we’re confident Chris is the perfect person to help us deliver this message.”
Chris will represent the charity by passing on tips and advice on growing, presenting at events, campaigning and helping with redesigns.