It is arrogant for British people to tell other countries how they should garden, Monty Don has said.
The Gardeners’ World star said that although Britain valued outdoor space more than “any other nation”, it meant people “assume that our approach to gardening is the only one”.
Don warned that people had to be very careful about judging other gardens around the world with British culture, morality and history.
He described telling others how and where they should plant things as a “form of arrogance”.
Speaking on the BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Podcast, the 68-year-old said: “We value gardens and gardening much more than any other nation. It is much more closely bound up in our culture than any other nation.
“We take it for granted – and that’s wonderful and this is in no way a criticism, but it is a fact.
“But the downside of that is, we assume that our approach to gardening is the only one, or the right one, or there is a correct way to go about things.”
He added: “The parameters we have established culturally, we see as fixed. Whereas the truth is, they’re not – they’re arbitrary.”
On British attitudes to gardens around the world, he said: “When you travel and see what gardens mean, the other thing you have to be very careful about is not to apply your system of value judgments, morality and culture on to one that doesn’t share those morals or culture or even history.
“It’s too easy, too lazy to come in and say ‘this is right, this is wrong’ – even on a horticultural level.
“‘You shouldn’t be doing it like that, you shouldn’t be planting this’, that’s a form of arrogance.
“You go, hopefully, with enough humility to learn and not to teach.”
Don cited unconventional gardens in Mexico or in the Amazon rainforest that he had seen throughout his travels that had “completely broadened [his] views” about what a garden can be.
“There is the other factor, which we as a heavily industrialised society forget, a lot of places in the world, a garden is an absolute necessity to produce food,” he added.
“The luxury of having this relaxation, the calm, the feeling good is just that - it’s a luxury. There are plenty of places that simply have never had the opportunity to experience that.”