Alan Titchmarsh’s frustration over wannabe gardeners: ‘I bite my lip and smile!’

Alan Titchmarsh provides advice on removing weeds in 2016

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The beloved horticulturist started developing his green-fingered skills when he was 15 years old and has since forged an illustrious career. The 71-year-old, who returns to ITV screens in Alan Titchmarsh: Spring Into Summer tonight, offers sage advice to amateur growers. But in an uncharacteristic rant, Titchmarsh lambasted individuals just starting out in gardening.

Titchmarsh is a well-trusted figure within the gardening community and regularly reveals his top tried-and-tested tips.

The plant-lover has at least 56 years of experience under his belt. 

He studied horticulture at a specialist agriculture college before going on to become a gardening journalist, author and later a TV presenter. 

Last month, Titchmarsh expressed concerns over the lack of concern about climate change from some members of the public.

He believed people were “generally disconnected” from the natural world unless they had been able to “work on the land” and tried it in their spare time.

The gardener mourned the loss of rural studies from the educational curriculum and felt that played a part in people caring less.

He argued that education about growing plants “needs to start early” in order to enchant youngsters with the beauty of nature. 

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Titchmarsh told the Irish News: “You want people to love the outdoors, and that connection starts with childhood.”

Another issue the green-fingered guru raised was snobbery within the gardening world.

He found it difficult to talk to some people about their gardens because of how much money they were planning to spend. 

Titchmarsh said it “occasionally” comes up in conversations and he has to “bite his lip”. 

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He recalled one person told him: “Oh, we have this lovely lady who designed this most wonderful small garden.

“She didn’t cost very much, just a few thousand pounds.”

Titchmarsh said it was hard to disguise his disgust in those instances and said: “I just bite my lip and smile.”

He also mocked individuals who went on “a course, once a week for a year” and claimed to be “a fully-fledged garden designer” once they completed it.

While he hoped to encourage as many people as possible to be passionate about gardening, he felt they went too far.

He disputed individuals’ claims to be experts after one course and said: “There’s a lot of learning needed to design gardens.”

Titchmarsh continued: “It’s like saying, ‘I’m going to be a painter’, without knowing anything about paint.”

He described amateurs’ intentions as “good” but felt their “execution” was “often sadly lacking”.

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The star moaned: “Everybody wants to be a garden designer, well, why don’t you just be a gardener first?”

In 2019, The Horticultural Trades Association estimated that 27 million people take part in gardening in the UK.

The study found that 57 percent of growers were women – typically white, middle class and over 55.

It’s believed the demographic is older because fewer people are buying houses until “later life”.

Love The Garden claimed people were “concentrating more on their working careers” in their twenties and thirties and so not settling down until they were older.

They believed it meant people were raising children in “their late thirties” and only had “more [free] time” when they were older.

It’s claimed that shows like Alan Titchmarsh’s Love Your Garden, Spring Into Summer and others are trying to combat that. 

He and other gardening pros are attempting to help people become interested in the hobby.

A 2014 study found that the retail market for gardening was worth £5billion and since the coronavirus pandemic it is believed to have increased. 

Alan Titchmarsh: Spring Into Summer airs at 8pm tonight on ITV. 

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