Alan Titchmarsh: TV star’s brilliant present to spark gardening frenzy exposed

The 70-year-old is now widely considered one of the nation’s most influential gardeners, thanks largely to his charming demeanour and witty character while on screens. Always on the lookout for hints and tips to share, Alan remains a mainstay on British television and continues to offer advice to aspiring gardens after around 40 years in the public eye. And in 2017 while writing for the Daily Express, Alan revealed another brilliant idea that would get people excited about their gardens – even in the winter months.

He explained that a key present for gardeners was simply just a “potful of bulbs”.

Alan said: “It’s too late to expect them to be in flower for the festive season but there are a couple of narcissi that grow rapidly and which, when given in the early stages of growth, are as acceptable as when they are in bloom.

“‘Paperwhite’ is ivory white and ‘Soleil d’Or’ a bright golden yellow and both are exquisitely scented.

“Choose a clay pot about 56in in diameter and three-quarters fill it with peat-free multipurpose compost.

“Sit the bulbs on top, so that they are touching, and fill around them with more compost, pushing it lightly between the bulbs.”

The star went on to advise that the bulbs’ “noses” should be visible above the compost – and should sit around half-an-inch below the rim of the pot in order to allow for watering.

He added: “Water the compost and place the pot on a windowsill in bright sunlight.

“Give the pot to your chosen one after growth starts but recommend to them that they don’t overwater and that they keep the pot in a cool but bright place.

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When the flowers open, the room will be fragranced far more effectively than with any air freshener, thanks to your gift.”

More recently, Alan delivered a surprising hack surrounding how to produce the best compost on his show ‘Grow Your Own At Home With Alan Titchmarsh’.

Alan revealed that the one thing fruit, vegetables and plants need to thrive is good soil, which he confessed needs “organic matter in it to provide nutrients and to hold on to moisture”.

He advised that the best way to get those nutrients is from a compost heap.

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The star said: “You can buy soil enriched with it in bags of course, but with many of us out mowing and pruning now is a great time to save some pennies. And create your own garden compost.

“A big garden needs a big compost heap, but even a small garden can fit one.

“What do you put in? Your vegetable waste and your weeds. Soft pruning from flowers and lawn mowings.”

But the best thing for gardeners to do to finish off the heap is to place old carpet on top of it.

This, he told viewers, will “stop the sun’s rays from scoring it”.

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