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Gardeners' World host Rachel de Thame banned from breastfeeding at Chelsea Flower Show

Gardeners’ World presenter Rachel de Thame (opens in new tab) has told how she was banned from breastfeeding at the Chelsea Flower Show.

The green-fingered star has been a familiar face in the BBC’s coverage of the world famous horticultural event – this year alongside the likes of Monty Don and Joe Swift.

She told Radio Times magazine: “I absolutely think women and men are equal in the world of horticulture and design, though there was one occasion when I was filming at the Chelsea Flower Show and I wasn’t allowed to breastfeed.

Television horticulturalist Rachel de Thame

TV horticulturalist Rachel de Thame in the glasshouse at RHS Wisley near Woking, Surre (Chris Ison/PA)


“I’m an earth mother. I liked being pregnant and giving birth and breastfeeding. Up until that point, the job I was doing was working really well with juggling the kids, but not then.”

The former model and actress, 53, added: “Having said there are as many opportunities for men as there are for women, I did notice that there weren’t many show gardens designed by women this year at Chelsea and I am not sure what that’s about.

“Maybe the same issues that affect women working in other spheres do affect women in horticulture. We have babies. We are not available for full-time work.”

She told the magazine that men and women design gardens differently.

“It’s tricky, but we definitely need both male and female designers in order to get balance,” she said. “For me, women and men see things differently. Our eyes are made of rods and cones and men have more rods, which means they are prone to see structure etc.

“Women have more cones, which means we see and remember more colours and colour schemes. We definitely see things differently.”

Countryfile Presenters

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip meet Countryfile presenters (from far left) Paul Heiney, Bettany Hughes, Rachel de Thame and chef Mike Robinson (John Stillwell/PA Archive)


The presenter said of her successful career: “I work at it. People think of me wafting around smelling the roses, but I’m not like that at all. I’m a tomboy… I’m tough really.

“In terms of my career, I never felt good enough as a model. I thought it would give me up in the end. I don’t feel that way about gardening. I know I will be doing it until I drop.”

And despite her youthful appearance, the gardener, who has four children aged between nine and 26, is about to become a grandmother for the second time.

“Lauren (her 26-year-old daughter) is about to have her second child, so I’m enjoying being a granny,” she said.


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