Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has branded TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh a "complete muppet" for criticising the Government's countryside policies.
Mr Paterson said the gardener "missed completely everything we're doing", during an interview with the Daily Telegraph.
The rebuke came after Mr Titchmarsh questioned the response to ash dieback disease and warned that the Conservative Party had lost its roots in rural areas.
At the launch of the 100th Chelsea Flower Show last month, Mr Titchmarsh said: "Time was when the Tory party was the party of the Shires and understood how the countryside works.
"There seems to me very little investment in rural areas and the countryside. We have to look after agriculture and horticulture: growing things. This is how we feed ourselves."