Alan Titchmarsh’s gardening tip for small spaces in March: ‘It’ll give untold pleasure!’

Alan Titchmarsh speaks to expert about growing fruit in garden

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The TV presenter, 71, is among the nation’s most trusted gardening experts. Over the years, Titchmarsh has shared his top tips for growing plants, fruit and vegetables. The horticulturist, who appears in Love Your Weekend With Alan Titchmarsh on ITV today, gave advice to amateur gardeners without large areas to grow things in the UK.

Titchmarsh has authored books, written articles and starred in TV shows where he shared his tips from 50 years as a gardener. 

He described March as “the start of planting season” and advised the public to carry out several tasks to ensure they were ready for a “brighter summer”.

In his grower’s guide for Classical FM, the celebrity said: “If you have gaps, prepare to fill them now.”

Titchmarsh suggested using border plants, perennials, roses, shrubs and trees for those empty areas.

After completing the task, he said gardeners could “look forward to a brighter summer”.

Titchmarsh also advised it was “time to get fertilising and to sprinkle some well-rotted compost or manure” on garden beds.

While he admitted it was “a kind of mucky job”, he believed it was important to get it “out of the way”.

Once the task is complete, Titchmarsh believes it will “stand you in good stead for the rest of the year”. 

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One problem experienced by many amateur gardeners is knowing when to sow seeds outdoors – but fortunately, the star revealed some handy tips.

In a video for Waitrose & Partners last month, Titchmarsh advised using weeds as a guide.

Once they had sprouted, he said it was safe to plant some seeds and bulbs outdoors.

Titchmarsh explained: “When weed seeds were beginning to germinate in spring… they would regard the soil as being warm enough.”

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If in doubt, Titchmarsh shared “several tricks” the “old gardeners used to do”.

One was the “baby and bathwater” trick, but instead of dipping your elbow in water, he suggested sticking it into the soil instead.

Another test Titchmarsh, which claimed was used “in extreme circumstances”, was to “drop your trousers and sit with your naked bottom on the soil”.

He said: “If you go ‘Oh, that’s cold!’, it’s too cold for seeds.”

Titchmarsh claimed the test was carried out “quite a few years ago” and admitted: “I have never used it!”

The star has often voiced opposition to spending vast sums of money on gardening and tried to encourage a made-do approach. 

For those with only a small amount of space, Titchmarsh advised planting a Snake’s head fritillary.

He described the plant, which is known for its beautiful chequered-pattern, as “something pretty” to grow.

Titchmarsh said it would flourish without the need for a greenhouse or expensive equipment. 

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He explained it will grow even “if you only have a window sill or perhaps a little table outside the backdoor”. 

Once the unusual-looking plant blooms, Titchmarsh claims “it will give you untold pleasure” for at least “the next week or two”.

Titchmarsh was unhappy about the snobbery in gardening and didn’t agree with people who boasted about spending a lot on the hobby.

Last year, he told the Irish News: “Occasionally it drifts through in conversation with people.

“’Oh we have this lovely lady who designed this most wonderful small garden and she didn’t cost very much – just a few thousand pounds’.

“I just bite my lip and smile.”

Titchmarsh also mocked people who emerged “fully-fledged garden designers” after going on a “once a week course for a year”.

He claimed to be supportive of “anybody who wants to get involved in gardening” but felt there was “a lot of learning needed to design gardens”.

Titchmarsh continued: “Everybody wants to be a garden designer… Well, why don’t you just be a gardener first?”

Love You Weekend With Alan Titchmarsh stars Dawn Steel and Lesley Garrett today, which airs at 10am on ITV.

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