Diddly Squat Farm: Jeremy Clarkson criticises Chelsea Flower Show as he express worry over future of farming

The Grand Tour presenter has hit out at the popular show claiming it panders to naturalisation which is “killing food production”

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Jeremy Clarkson has hit out at the Chelsea Flower Show as he fights to make his Diddly Squat Farm profitable. In a column in the Sunday Times, the Clarkson’s Farm presenter slams the event as he claims that the trend of naturalisation and rewilding is taking its toll on the British food production industry.

Bashing the flower show, the 62-year-old presenter and farmer said the Chelsea Flower Show had become a “no gardening at all” movement focusing more on “mental health, climate change and vegetarianism” than flowers and planting. He also expressed his fears of not making a living as a farmer, as he and other farmers are “on their knees” producing food.

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“Gone are the days when people created dazzling blooms and water features and glorious, technicolour rockeries,” Clarkson said. “Now the exhibitors turn up with gardens made from things they found in a skip nestling in a bed of weeds. I used to love Chelsea but these days it's like walking through my local tip.

“Perhaps this is what I should be doing on the farm. Growing moss on all the old fridge freezers that people lob over the hedges every Friday night and making visitor centres for the pollinator community out of old tyres.”

Despite having four other sources of income, Clarkson describes how he lays “sleepless” at night with the “truly terrifying” thoughts of having to diversify his Cotswolds farm. He writes: “These, then, are troubling times, because what am I to do? Farming hurts my back and my knees, and if I attempt to use my land to grow food, I’ll lose money. It has been causing me some sleepless nights, that’s for sure.”

Referring to a piece in The Times by Richard Wilson, Clarkson said gardening shows these days “usually show gardens that have been the subject of no gardening at all.“ 

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“It’s all gardening for your mental health and climate change and vegetarianism, all of which means doing no gardening at all,” he said. “And we’ve seen more evidence of this trend at the Chelsea Flower Show in recent years.“

“Last weekend someone left a car bonnet in one of my fields — Nissan Micra in case you’re interested — and what I did was: hitch up the trailer to my tractor and bring it back to the farmyard. 

Jeremy Clarkson outside his Diddly Squat farm shop in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. Jeremy Clarkson outside his Diddly Squat farm shop in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire.
Jeremy Clarkson outside his Diddly Squat farm shop in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire.

“What I should have done was: leave it there until it was buried in a forest of thistles. That would have been kinder to my knees and back, that’s for sure. And I probably could have got a grant.”

After two seasons of Clarkson’s Farm on Amazon Prime and multiple battles with local residents and the council, it seems Jeremy might be at the end of his line, with just one more venture before throwing in the towel. He said: “Which is why, this morning after I'd cleared away two dead lambs, one dead goat and another batch of dead piglets, I decided to plant my game covers with mustard.

"It's my last roll of the dice. My last chance to make something? anything ? work. And if it doesn't? I don't even want to think about it ?"