The 70-year-old is known as one of the nation’s finest gardeners and is often cited as a major reason the public have fallen back in love with their gardens. He is instantly recognisable after appearing on screens for generations, and most commonly associated for his role in fronting the BBC’s coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show. Thanks to his charming demeanour and frank love of getting green fingered, Alan is always on the look out to give inspiration to aspiring gardeners.
And in 2018, writing for Country Life, the star offered a clever trick to ensure your garden stays bright deep into late summer.
He wrote: “Although my own garden isn’t planned specifically with late summer in mind, I flatter myself that I can anticipate that season with almost the same feverish excitement as I look forward to spring, simply because, tucked away in my beds and borders, are plants that are happy to wait until others have given their all before they deign to glorify my patch of Hampshire earth with their own contributions.”
Alan added: “In your quest to bring a little late-summer fire to your borders, don’t ignore the red-hot pokers (Kniphofia) in their infinite variety.
“Towering in red, orange and yellow, or more diminutive and often in softer shades of yellow and jade green, they’ll brighten your life as well as your garden. Snip off the flower spikes as they fade and many of them will bloom on until the frosts.
“In bare ground under trees and shrubs, plant autumn-flowering cyclamen – Cyclamen hederifolium – to light up your autumnal gloom with their pink and white reflex-petalled blooms.
“Mine began flowering in August this year. I do wish they wouldn’t.”
The gardening legend also once claimed that people should not “shy away from touching the flowers we grow”.
He admitted that the “fifth sense of touch is rarely celebrated” when creating our gardens and that we should all use our ability to feel once the flowers blossom.
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Alan is a household name thanks to his charming manner and insightful knowledge of gardening.
And last year for the same publication, Alan discussed the taboo which needs “to stop now”.
He concluded: “Perhaps it’s because, since we were children, we’ve been told ‘Don’t touch’ that tactility is the least used of our senses in the garden.
“We admire the view of beds and borders, sweeping lawns, towering cedars and individual blooms.
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“We listen to the susurration of the trees when their foliage is disturbed by a passing breeze.
“We inhale the perfume of roses and sweet peas and turn up our noses at the aromatic fermentation of a compost heap and we revel in the taste of home-grown fruit and vegetables.”
Alan has spent most of his career on the BBC, fronting shows such as ‘Gardeners’ World’ and ‘Ground Force’.
For work on the latter, he achieved universal acclaim, leading to him renovating former South African president Nelson Mandela’s garden.
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