Alan Titchmarsh: ‘Gardening for me is therapeutic’

Alan Titchmarsh transforms the gardens of those in need for the third series of Love Your Garden (ITV, Tuesday). We chatted to Alan about the show – and why he loves his own garden…

How rewarding is it transforming gardens for those in need?
“If you ever needed reassurance that gardens make a difference to people’s lives, then this programme is it. We’ve been very careful, this time, to find people whose lives will be genuinely altered by having a garden. It can get emotional, so have those tissues ready.”

What can you tell me about Malcolm, wife Trish and son George, who appear in episode one?
“Malcolm’s never been to the end of his garden, so the aim was mainly to make it accessible for him. But we also wanted to make sure the new garden would be something all the family could enjoy.”

You’re joined again by experts David Domoney, Katie Rushworth and Frances Tophill – what do they each bring to the show?
“Good humour and different skills. David’s a real wiz kid, always buzzing with ideas, Frances is a horticulturalist who knows her stuff and Katie runs her own landscaping firm so, along with David Dodd and his gang, we just move into the owners’ home and blitz their garden.”

Do you ever fear that a job’s too big and you won’t get finished in time?
“No, because knowing what a difference this garden will make, just makes us more determined to do a good job. When someone’s in tears because something good’s happened, you realise how important it is.”

You’ve just finished at the Chelsea Flower Show. What was that like?
“It was centenary year this year – 100 years since it started – so there was a special theme to it. People come along for inspiration and leave thrilled by what they’ve seen yet depressed that their own garden doesn’t quite live up to it. But these gardens are designed to be wonderful for a week, yours has got to be good all year round. It’s only meant to offer inspiration – a Paris catwalk, if you like.”

What advice would you give someone new to gardening?
“Do things little by little. And start with an area nearest your house, not down the far end, because that way you can actually see what you’ve done, which offers encouragement. Also, you’ve got to enjoy it – gardening’s all about the ‘doing’. It’s never finished.”

Do you still enjoy gardening as much as you always have?
“I’d say I enjoy gardening more now than ever. Life’s busy for me at the moment, so I find gardening incredibly therapeutic. It’s still my over-riding passion.”


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