Alan Titchmarsh warns of risk to root bound plants – ‘they can starve!’

Alan creates ocean themed patio on Love Your Garden

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During this week’s Love Your Garden on ITV, Alan Titchmarsh and the team created a greenspace inspired by the natural world. Their design featured a range of woodland plants which thrive in shaded areas.

Alan was set the task of transforming a small neglected garden into a greenspace with a woodland theme for Philippa and her family.

Phillipa had worked as a chef in the navy before being forced to give up her career due to a debilitating genetic condition.

Having dedicated her time to helping people in the community, including setting up a food bank for those in need, Alan and his team were keen to create an inviting and stimulating space for Phillipa and her two-year-old son, Harrison.

To gain inspiration for the design Alan visited a woodland themed garden in Islington, North London.

He described the area as a “little wonderland” in “a secluded sanctuary.”

Alan said the use of bluebells, which thrive in shaded areas, created a “gentle woolly feel.”

Determined to create a stimulating space, Alan said: “I want Pip and her family out into that garden to expand their horizons,” adding that he aimed to design a “wild, woolly wilderness of a garden.” 

Among the plants Alan chose a Viburnum.

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He said the shrub had the “most glorious fragrance”.

The shrub loses its leaves during winter but “makes up for it in spring.”

Alan explained that when planting a shrub which is root bound, it’s important to“tease them out” using a fork. He said it “encourages them to explore the soil.”

“Otherwise, they can sit there while the roots dry out and they can starve,” added Alan.

Mosses and ferns, including a Blechnum, were planted in the shaded areas of the garden.  

Explaining how ferns reproduce, Alan explained: “They don’t grow from seeds, they grow from spores.” 

In another shaded spot Katie Rushworth planted dwarf Rhododendrons and Leucojums, also known as the summer snowflake.

Phillipa was keen for her son to learn about growing fresh produce so David Domoney created some window boxes to grow vegetables.

David explained that window boxes could be used for growing both vegetables and plants.

He said Tumbling Tom tomatoes were ideal for window boxes because they cascaded over the edge of the containers. 

David added that they required plenty of moisture and needed to be watered and fed regularly.

This week’s Love Your Garden can be viewed on the ITV hub.

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