A blooming great 50th anniversary for Alan Titchmarsh
As Alan Titchmarsh celebrates 50 years in horticulture, he tells Hannah Stephenson how his latest garden will reflect his ‘journey’
TV gardening guru Alan Titchmarsh is looking forward to getting his hands dirty at RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year.
Instead of wearing a sharp suit to present the show, for the first time in 30 years, he will be wearing a pair of gloves and designing a garden instead.
Obviously, there’s a substantial chance it will be rather good, too – not only is Titchmarsh one of the country’s best-known gardening presenters, but back in 1985, when Titchmarsh last designed a garden at the prestigious Chelsea, he was awarded an RHS Gold Medal for his Country Kitchen garden.
He will also be joining forces with another RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal winner, Kate Gould, to create From The Moors To The Sea – a celebration of 50 years of the RHS Britain in Bloom campaign, to represent how 300,000 volunteers help to make Britain bloom and explore Alan’s relationship with horticulture through his life.
“It’s 50 years since I started work as an apprentice, so I thought I could either do a 1960s-style garden through to the 21st century, but the sixties were a bit dull, all rose beds and lawns.
“So I thought, why don’t I demonstrate where I first started, which was the Yorkshire moors, up to where I garden now, on the coast on the Isle of Wight?
“So we will be sloping from moorland at the back, with dry stone walls, coming down to a seaside garden at the front. It’s 50 years of ‘my journey’, to use the X-Factor phrase.
“It’s also showing the British Isles and its variety. Being a cool temperate set of islands, the range we can grow is incredibly wide and this will show the richness of the British Isles.”
He’ll be featuring pines, heathers and birches from the moorland, through wild flowers, down to seaside plants including echiums and cabbage palms. It will be a 10m by 15m microcosm of British gardens and landscapes.
It sounds great, but how does Titchmarsh feel about not presenting the Chelsea coverage for the first time in 30 years?
Last year Titchmarsh announced he was stepping down from the BBC’s coverage of Chelsea after programme-makers offered him a more ‘limited’ role, although he remains RHS vice president and first ambassador.
“[I feel] wonderful,” he insists. “I’m putting a show garden together – I’ve done it before and I love doing it. It’s technically an exhibit but will look like a show garden. It’s not being judged but the same criteria and standard of finish will have to be there.”
“I’ve moved on,” he continues. “There was disappointment but it’s gone, I’m over it. There’s no point in dwelling on things.”
It’s all part of a new beginning for Titchmarsh, who began his career as that apprentice for Ilkley Council, before becoming the face of BBC2’s Gardeners’ World for six years until 2002. He also presented Ground Force, How To Be A Gardener and several natural history series, and has written a number of bestselling novels and has a regular slot on Classic FM.
He’s had eight years presenting an afternoon chat show too, though this is also ending after its last run in autumn.
“It’s better to stop doing something when you’re still regarded as being successful, while people are still watching, rather than it going off the boil. It will be my 15th series in the autumn, that’s eight years.
“It’s every day. Jonathan Ross and Graham Norton do one a week. I do five. I thought, let’s stop while it’s doing well.”
He’s certainly got enough else to keep him occupied too, with forthcoming TV projects including a two-parter about the gardens of Buckingham Palace, out in December, a new series of Love Your Garden in the summer and a series called Britain’s Best Gardens for ITV, in which he explores 30 of Britain’s best domestic gardens. He’s also just launched a new gardening range with Waitrose, though he won’t reveal if his Chelsea garden will feature any of the new products.
Incredibly, he sees all this as ‘slowing down’, saying that with three grandchildren to enjoy and his landmark 65th birthday coming up in May, he hopes to cut down his workload.
“I’ll never stop but I want to pace myself a bit more.”
Well, perhaps a little.
Latest posts by Silversurfer's Editor (see all)
- Do you think university tuition fees should be scrapped? - February 20, 2018
- Let’s end polio for good - February 19, 2018
- It’s why we travel… - February 19, 2018
- Heart Valve Voice Reaches New Heights - February 19, 2018
- Will your pension support your retirement plans? - February 15, 2018
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!