Alan Titchmarsh’s gardening advice to keep plants ‘happy as Larry’ in April

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The veteran horticulturist has more than 55 years of gardening experience and regularly gives advice to amateur growers. The 71-year-old currently features in the shows Love Your Weekend With Alan Titchmarsh and Alan Titchmarsh: Spring Into Summer. With spring well upon us, many have looked to the green-fingered gardening guru for tips on how to make the most of the flower, fruit and vegetable season.

Titchmarsh is among the most trusted voices in the world of gardening and has a number of tried-and-tested tips he has used throughout the years. 

By the end of March, he advised gardeners to have finished fertilising and sprinkling well-rotted compost into garden beds. 

The TV star admitted it was a “kind of mucky job” but something that would “stand you in good stead for the rest of the year”.

For people with only a small amount of space, he suggested the “extraordinarily named Snake’s head fritillary”.

The unmistakable flower earned its name from the unusual chequered pattern on its petals. 

Titchmarsh said the plant was “something pretty” for those who “only have a windowsill” or “a little table outside the backdoor”.

He boldly claimed the flower would “give you untold pleasure” once it had bloomed within a few weeks. 

Titchmarsh also suggested something colour for your doorstep and claimed there was “nothing better than tulips”.

He believed the flower could give gardeners “a bit of hope for the spring to come”.

The star heralded March as “the start of planting season” and advised people to “prepare to fill” any gaps in the garden.

With the beginning of spring out of the way, Titchmarsh cast his seasoned gardener’s eye to April and listed a few handy tips.

In his Classic FM gardening calendar, he suggested a number of things to do including one that would keep plants “happy as Larry”.

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Titchmarsh advised being “kind to your daffs” – daffodils – at this time and said it would help to ensure you “get good flowers next year”.

For those “tempted” by magnolias, he explained one key trick to ensure they are healthy. 

Titchmarsh said it was vital to “make sure” they have “room to grow – to spread sideways as well as upwards”.

He added: “Pruned magnolias are generally butchered magnolias.”

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For rhododendrons, a colourful evergreen shrub, Titchmarsh suggested putting chalk or limestone in the soil.

He said the most important thing was to keep the plant “green as grass” as that would ensure they are “as happy as Larry”.

In another gardening to-do list for the Daily Mail this year, he advised keeping on top of weeding was extremely important.

Titchmarsh also instructed gardeners to feed the grass, rake out moss and plant new seeds into bare patches of lawn.

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He suggested the lawn should be mowed “at least once a fortnight”.

Titchmarsh also said it was time to spread fertiliser on bushes, hedges, roses, shrubs, spring bulbs and trees.

Vegetables including beetroot, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, early peas and lettuce could be planted outside. 

“Hardy herbs” including coriander, dill, fennel and parsley were all safe to go outdoors too. 

Titchmarsh instructed gardeners to “thin out and transplant seedlings” and to water and hoe vegetable patches on a regular basis. 

For those growing plants inside a greenhouse, he said it was important to ventilate the area on sunny days and shut it in the mid-afternoon. 

By closing vents and windows before the evening, the greenhouse will “keep the heat in at night”.

Titchmarsh explained that tomato seedlings could be pricked out and put into individual pots. 

Finally, he added that it was safe to hang outdoor tubs and hanging baskets providing they were kept under glass.

Love Your Weekend With Alan Titchmarsh airs at 10am Sunday and Alan Titchmarsh: Spring Into Summer at 8pm Monday, both on ITV.

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