Alan Titchmarsh: How TV legend dubbed garden ‘safety valve for alcoholism’

The 70-year-old insisted that coronavirus will “increase levels of alcoholism and depression” throughout the nation, as the public come to terms with the Government’s lockdown measures. However, he argued earlier this month that “even the smallest patch of earth could lift the nation’s spirits”. The gardener has been vocal throughout the lockdown period, claiming that the gardening industry needs more support to protect its future.

Government restrictions saw garden centres and nurseries severely impacted due to enforced closures.

Despite this, Mr Titchmarsh was adamant that some positives could come out of the pandemic.

Speaking to i, he said: “During this lockdown period people have really learned of the value of the smallest patch of earth, or even a window box or a pot, in lifting the spirits.

COVID-19 has increased levels of alcoholism and depression but the garden has been a great safety valve for people to just get out and unwind.

“Gardens, plants, flowers and trees are real and untroubled by human difficulties.

“I’ve spent over a month in my own garden and I’ve just had the most glorious time. And it’s connected me to the earth even more.

“I’ve had the opportunity to be in it – and of it – every day, all day, and that’s been a delight.”

Mr Titchmarsh also used the interview to demand that those looking to spruce up their gardens this summer shopped British.

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With parts of the garden industry now reopened, it is a prime time to support the local businesses, Mr Titchmarsh said.

He added: “It’s not xenophobia. It’s just really important that we support our growers in this industry.

“They do a fine job – they’re not in it for the money, goodness me they’re not.”

Mr Titchmarsh concluded: “The love and the care and attention and the skill that’s gone into it and the information that they pass on is really worth having.

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“Any skill or knowledge which is lost or dissipated in any form is a tragedy and we need to make sure that our horticultural industry survives and thrives.

“By supporting local growers you can do that.”

Mr Titchmarsh is currently appearing on the BBC as part of its virtual coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show.

He rose to prominence in the Nineties with a string of appearances on TV shows such as ‘Gardener’s World’. 

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