Alan Titchmarsh has admitted he was hurt by the BBC’s decision to sideline him in its coverage of this year’s Chelsea flower show, which will return at the weekend without him for the first time in 30 years.

The former Gardeners’ World presenter said he was made “an offer I had to refuse” by BBC management, who decided to replace him as the programme’s main presenter with Monty Don.

Titchmarsh, who is also stepping down from his ITV chatshow, said he avoided “jealousy and bitterness”, but admitted: “Yes, I suppose I was hurt, because I know people enjoy you doing it as much as I loved doing it.

“But they probably felt it was time for a change and may well be right,” he told the new issue of Radio Times. “Was I dumped for Monty Don? You might say that. I couldn’t possibly comment. I don’t feel dumped.”

Titchmarsh was offered a lesser role in the BBC’s coverage but declined.

Titchmarsh caused controversy last year with remarks about “whingeing” older female presenters. Explaining his comments, he told the listings magazine: “If you’re going to make noises about not being employed, you have to be absolutely sure it is down to ageism rather than the fact that you’re not very good.”

Titchmarsh will still be at Chelsea, having created a Royal Horticultural Society garden, and the BBC has booked him for an interview to talk about his creation for the Britain In Bloom scheme.

Titchmarsh, who was also succeeded by Don when he left Gardeners’ World in 2002, added: “He’s passionate and he gets through to a lot of people. We have different audiences. Good luck to him. I’m not going to slag him off.”

Titchmarsh said he had been invited to take part in BBC1’s celebrity dance show Strictly Come Dancing, “but you have to devote three months to it”.

He added: “Jealousy eats you away. There’s no point. Leave it behind. We’ve all got problems, had tragedies in our lives. I don’t see any point in whingeing.

“There’s so much self-analysis now … the cult of personality … but fame is a by-product, not a goal. What drives me is contentment, satisfaction and stimulation, and the avoidance of jealousy and bitterness. Those things don’t achieve anything.”

The BBC’s coverage of the Chelsea flower show begins on BBC2 on Sunday.

Newsreader Sophie Raworth, who will present the slot Titchmarsh turned down, said: “The fact that I’m doing it has nothing to do with the fact that he isn’t. I wasn’t approached to do the show until he decided to step away from the BBC coverage. It’s a real honour.”

Alan Titchmarsh to unveil new greenhouses at Chelsea Flower Show

We are very excited to announce that we are launching two new greenhouse designs as part of our NGS range.

We are even more excited that gardening favourite Alan Titchmarsh will be officially unveiling them at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show next week!

The new models are an expansion of our NGS range that we launched six years ago to support the leading gardening charity which is the most significant charitable funder of nursing and caring charities in the country.

We have supported the NGS since 2012 and the new Lavender and Tarragon are the latest additions to the exclusive range, which sees 5% of proceeds being donated to the charity. To date we have donated £45,099.08 and look forward to seeing this figure increasing with sales of the new products.

The Lavender will be on the stand at the Chelsea Flower Show, retailing at £28,000. It measures 3.6m x 6.5m. The second of the new models is The Tarragon, which, including its double door, is the largest in the entire Griffin NGS range measuring 3.6m x 8.1m, prices starting from £34,000. The NGS range currently consists of five other models – The Sorrel, The Thyme, The Fennel, The Sage and The Rosemary.

Both designs are free standing with a porch. Greenhouses in the NGS collection are produced in the traditional Victorian style which we are famed for, with steep pitched roofs, narrow glazing panels, decorative spandrels inside and finished with exquisite detail to the ridge fittings and finials. They are made by Griffin Glasshouses at our Hampshire workshop using the highest quality, maintenance free aluminium that is specifically designed to the give the appearance of traditional wood.

Speaking about the new products and their launch, managing director of Griffin Glasshouses, Linda Lane, commented: “We can’t wait to unveil our new products at the Chelsea Flower Show with Alan Titchmarsh. We’ve been so delighted by the reaction to the existing NGS range that we were keen to expand it as soon as possible and what better platform than the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show.”

The NGS was founded in 1927 and has grown to be the most significant charitable funder of nursing and caring charities in the country, donating over £50 million so far, through money raised via its open gardens programme. Currently, more than 3,700 gardens nationwide open their gates for the NGS each year.

As well as the Chelsea Flower Show, we’ll also be showing off the new designs at the RHS Chatsworth and Hampton Court Flower Shows so you’ll be able to see them for yourself if you are visiting the shows.

The battle over societal inequality has moved on to less familiar terrain: the Chelsea Flower Show.

TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh has hit back at claims made by Juliet Sargeant, the show’s first black designer, that it is dominated by white middle class people. Titchmarsh told The Daily Telegraph Sargeant’s comments were “not true” and “not particularly helpful.”

Earlier this week, Sargeant said: “People in the last few years have been asking why there aren’t more women garden designers and the same with young people, but to date nobody has really asked the question about ethnic minorities and different cultures.

“The horticultural industry is quite a traditional industry and it does seem to lag behind a bit.”

But Titchmarsh said: “Anybody who wants to grow things can and anyone who grows things well will be invited to exhibit at the show. Nearly everybody has a front garden.

“Gardening is not a preserve of anyone. Lords, dukes and duchesses can talk about it on a level playing field with ordinary folk.

“I think the great thing about gardening is that it has always been open to all, all kinds of people garden and all kinds of people are represented.”

ALAN Titchmarsh has been gracing our TV screens for many years, first as a gardener and then as a presenter.

He rose to fame on Ground Force alongside Charlie Dimmock, but what else do we know about the green-fingered star of Love Your Garden? We have got the lowdown on him…

3 Alan Titchmarsh is a gardener and TV presenterCredit: ITV

Who is Alan Titchmarsh and how old is he?

Alan Titchmarsh is a popular TV gardener, who has an impressive roster of shows behind him from Ground Force to Songs of Praise.

Born in Yorkshire on May 2, 1949, Alan is 70-years-old.

After working as a professional gardener and a gardening journalist, Alan became a media personality through appearances on gardening programmes.

As well as appearing on TV, Alan used to have a show on BBC Radio 2 and now has one on Classic FM.

He has also written seven novels and two autobiographies.

3 Alan during his Ground Force days with Charlie Dimmock and Tommy WalshCredit: BBC

Who is Alan Titchmarsh’s wife?

Alan Titchmarsh has been married to Alison since 1975.

The couple have two children, Polly (born 1979) and Camilla (born 1981).

He has previously described Alison as his “best friend”.

3 Alan with his wife AlisonCredit: Getty Images – Getty

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What is Fifty Shades of Green with Alan Titchmarsh?

Celebrating half a century spent in gardens around the world, Alan visits some of his favourite horticultural locations in the UK in this new series.

Along the way, he is joined by friends and experts, meeting Mary Berry at his favourite vegetable plot and delving inside Prince Charles’ garden at Highgrove.

The broadcaster also returns to the allotment where, as a toddler, he was first introduced to gardening.

Fifty Shades of Green with Alan Titchmarsh launched on ITV on Monday, November 4, 2019.

What TV shows has Alan Titchmarsh done?

Alan is probably best known for appearing on Ground Force, in which he and fellow presenters Charlie Dimmock and Tommy Walsh would perform a makeover on a garden.

He appeared on the show from 1997 to 2002.

Prior to that Alan appeared on Gardener’s World, which he continued working on until 2002.

From 2007-2014 he presented his own chat show The Alan Titchmarsh Show on ITV.

The star has hosted gardening show Love Your Garden since 2011.

Away from gardening, Alan has presented Songs Of Praise and he has also worked on a number of documentaries.

In 2017, he started Secrets Of The National Trust on Channel 5.

In March 2019 he took part in All Star Musicals which saw him belting out show tunes before a panel of judges.

Alan Titchmarsh shoots down rumours there will be a 20th Anniversary Ground Force reunion

Alan Titchmarsh British television show presenter

Alan Fred Titchmarsh, MBE, DL, HonFSE (born 2 May 1949) is an English gardener, broadcaster, poet, and novelist. After working as a professional gardener and a gardening journalist, he established himself as a media personality through appearances on gardening programmes. He has developed a diverse writing and broadcasting career.

Early career

Titchmarsh was born on 2 May 1949 in Ilkley, West Riding of Yorkshire, England. He is the son of Bessie (née Hardisty), a textile mill worker, and Alan Fred Titchmarsh, Sr., a plumber. In 1964, after leaving school at 15, Titchmarsh went to work as an apprentice gardener with Ilkley Council, before leaving in 1968, at 18, for Shipley Art and Technology Institute in Shipley in the West Riding of Yorkshire to study for a City and Guilds in horticulture.

Titchmarsh went on to study at Hertfordshire College of Agriculture and Horticulture for the National Certificate in Horticulture, before finally moving to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to study for a Diploma in Horticulture. After graduating he stayed on at Kew, employed as a supervisor and later as a staff trainer. He left to pursue a career in gardening journalism in 1974.

Television

Titchmarsh’s first few television appearances were on the long-running BBC television show Nationwide as a horticulture expert. This led to his being invited to present coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show for BBC television in 1983. Titchmarsh hosted this every year until 2013. In 2014, he was replaced by Sophie Raworth. He also appeared on other BBC shows, such as Breakfast Time and Open Air as either a guest presenter or as a gardening expert, providing commentary and answering viewers’ questions.

In 1991, Titchmarsh was brought in to host the long-running Pebble Mill at One BBC television talk show, which he did until its cancellation in 1996. In 1991, he presented a 6-part series in which he followed in the footsteps of the pilgrims, travelling around Britain and Ireland in the process.

In 1996 the cancellation of Pebble Mill at One gave Titchmarsh the opportunity to move back towards his first love, gardening, and he took over as host of another long-running BBC television programme, Gardeners’ World in the same year, the show being filmed in his own garden. In 1997, he took gardening to the masses with BBC One television series, Ground Force, in which he and fellow presenters Charlie Dimmock and Tommy Walsh would perform a makeover on a garden, Titchmarsh making full use of his horticultural skills when restocking the lucky gardens featured. The show has travelled as far as the United States and South Africa, where one episode saw the Ground Force team make over Nelson Mandela’s garden.

Staying involved in gardening programmes after Gardeners’ World, Titchmarsh has presented two series of How To Be A Gardener

Away from gardening, Titchmarsh has had spells presenting Songs of Praise and a series of programmes on BBC Radio 2 in which he played a selection of light classical music, as well as a BBC nature documentary series, British Isles – A Natural History. In recent years, he has done less television and radio and spent more time on his career as a novelist and renewed interest in writing gardening books.

Titchmarsh has appeared in an advertisement for the Yorkshire Tourist Board (now Welcome To Yorkshire) as part as of a series which included contributions from other Yorkshire-born celebrities including Brian Blessed, Melanie Brown, Darren Gough and Brian Turner. He occasionally does other voiceover work for advertisements as well as voicing the title character in Gordon the Garden Gnome, a cartoon series for the CBeebies channel. In autumn 2007, Titchmarsh hosted a follow-up series to British Isles – A Natural History entitled The Nature of Britain focusing on British plant and animal species.

Other recent work included hosting a 2005 special edition of the Antiques Roadshow, entitled the 20th Century Roadshow, which focused on modern collectibles, performing in the 2006 Children’s Party at the Palace for the Queen’s 80th birthday, and guest hosting an episode of The Paul O’Grady Show while O’Grady was off for medical reasons.

In 2007 Titchmarsh hosted The Great British Village Show, in which gardeners and cooks from all over Britain competed to be the best at growing pumpkins, runner beans and tomatoes, and at knitting, baking cakes and making jam. In September 2007 Titchmarsh began presenting his afternoon ITV chat show The Alan Titchmarsh Show which aired in the 3.00 pm afternoon slot. The show ended in November 2014.

In 2010 Titchmarsh presented the first series of Popstar to Operastar with Myleene Klass. Since 2011, he has presented gardening show Love Your Garden.

On 1 June 2012 he presented Elizabeth: Queen, Wife, Mother on ITV and was castigated the following day, for his obsequiousness, in a review by Sam Wollaston for The Guardian.

In spring 2013 Titchmarsh was a reporter on BBC Two programme The Great British Winter. In December 2014 Titchmarsh presented a two-part series for ITV called The Queen’s Garden that was filmed over a time period of one year.

In January 2015 Titchmarsh presented Britain’s Best Back Gardens. In February 2016, Titchmarsh began presenting the daytime game show Masterpiece for ITV.

In February 2017, the Channel Five programme Secrets of the National Trust started airing with Alan Titchmarsh as the main presenter alongside other well known celebrities.

Radio

In 1988 Titchmarsh was offered a slot on BBC Radio 2 hosting a gardening show with Gloria Hunniford called House in a Garden.

In January 2006, Titchmarsh was given a permanent slot on BBC Radio 2 on Sunday evenings with the show “Melodies for you” consisting of light classical and popular music, following the traditional style of Sunday-night broadcasting on Radio 2. In August 2011, Titchmarsh left Radio 2. Since January 2012, he has hosted a Saturday morning show on Classic FM.

Novelist

Titchmarsh began writing fiction, and his first novel, Only Dad, was published in November 2001. A further six books have since been published. Running parallel to the fiction work, Titchmarsh published a new series of gardening guides, the How to Garden series, in April 2009. His second autobiographical work is Nobbut A Lad: A Yorkshire Childhood from October 2006, a follow-up to his first autobiography, Trowel & Error, published in 2002. When I Was A Nipper was published on 30 September 2010.

Personal life

Titchmarsh has been married to Alison since 1975 and they have two children, Polly (born 1979) and Camilla (born 1981).

In addition to his extensive television and writing work, Titchmarsh is also trustee of his own charity, ‘Gardens for Schools’, and others, including ‘Seeds for Africa’. His charity helps fund gardens and green spaces in and around schools, while Seeds for Africa encourages sustainable vegetable gardening. It provides community groups with the tools, seeds and training they need to start their own vegetable gardens including providing water installation and preparing the land. Away from horticulture, Titchmarsh is involved with the Cowes Inshore Lifeboat, where he is a patron, and with the National Maritime Museum, where he is a trustee.

In 2004, Titchmarsh became the president of Perennial, officially known as the Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Society. Perennial is one of the UK’s oldest charities and was created in 1839 to help gardeners and horticulturists facing times of difficulty.

In 2010, Titchmarsh became president of the plant conservation charity Plant Heritage (previously known as NCCPG).

Titchmarsh has a wax statue at Madame Tussaud’s. It was revealed on Series 2, Episode 6 of the TV panel comedy series Would I Lie to You? that his waxwork had to have its face cleaned twice a week to remove all the lipstick smudges on it.

In August 2014, Titchmarsh was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian expressing their hope that Scotland would vote to remain part of the United Kingdom in September’s referendum on that issue.

Titchmarsh is an occasional practitioner of church bellringing. In 2011, he rang a quarter peal in Holybourne, Hampshire, to celebrate the marriage of William and Kate.

Titchmarsh moved to his home, a grade II listed Georgian farmhouse in Hampshire, in 2002. He also has a coastal home, near Cowes on the Isle of Wight, where he spends about a third of the year.

Criticism

In 2013, Titchmarsh, then aged 64, responded to complaints that older women were discriminated against on television by stating he would like to hear less “whingeing”. “They don’t complain in their early days when they are disporting themselves on sports cars”, he stated in an interview with The Observer. This drew criticism from media figures who had been protesting against the difficulties faced by older women in the media, including from Miriam O’Reilly, winner of an age discrimination case against the BBC.

Honours and awards

Titchmarsh was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2000 New Year Honours for services to horticulture and broadcasting. He was made a Deputy Lieutenant (DL) of the County of Hampshire in 2001. In 2008, Titchmarsh served as High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight.

In 1999, Titchmarsh was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science (DSc) degree by the University of Bradford. He was made Patron at Writtle College, a university college in Essex, in 2001 and had a building named after him at the college in 2011 (the ‘Titchmarsh Centre for Animal Studies’). In 2004, he was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Victoria Medal of Honour, the highest award the RHS can bestow. In 2007, he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Winchester, and in 2014 was designated as the new Chancellor of the university. He was honoured by the City of Westminster at a tree planting and plaque ceremony in April 2011.

Other projects

Titchmarsh has capitalised on his strong brand with retail and merchandise projects. He has launched several of his own product lines, including his own range of “Alan Titchmarsh” gardening tools developed in conjunction with tool manufacturer Bulldog Tools. Titchmarsh has also teamed up with Digitalis Media to launch Gardeners’ Heaven, the online retail arm of his website. Gardeners’ Heaven supplies Titchmarsh’s own tools as well as other popular gardening products.

Titchmarsh played the Pope in Sister Act The Musical at The Minack Theatre, Porthcurno, Cornwall in the BROS Theatre Company Production on 29 May 2019. He appeared in the final act of the show.

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1989-1994 Songs of Praise Presenter
2002 How To Be A Gardener Presenter
1983–2013 RHS Chelsea Flower Show Co-presenter
1991 Titchmarsh’s Travels Presenter
1991–1996 Pebble Mill at One Presenter
1996–2002 Gardeners’ World Presenter
1997–2002 Ground Force Presenter
2004 British Isles – A Natural History Presenter
2005 20th Century Roadshow Presenter
Gordon the Garden Gnome Voice of Gordon
2006 The Paul O’Grady Show Guest presenter 1 episode
2007 The Nature of Britain Presenter Documentary series
The Great British Village Show Presenter
2007–2014 The Alan Titchmarsh Show Presenter 15 series
2010 Popstar to Operastar Co-presenter Series 1; with Myleene Klass
2011—present Love Your Garden Co-presenter 8 series
2012 Elizabeth: Queen, Wife, Mother Presenter One-off programme
2013 The Great British Winter
2014 The Queen’s Garden Presenter Two-part series
2015 Britain’s Best Back Gardens Presenter 1 series
Titchmarsh on Capability Brown Presenter One-off documentary
2016-2017 Masterpiece with Alan Titchmarsh Co-presenter 2 series; with Rachel Houston-Holland
2016 Winnie-the-Pooh: The Most Famous Bear in the World Presenter One-off documentary
2017—present Secrets of the National Trust Presenter 2 series
2017 Royal Windsor Horse Show Live Presenter One-off special
Prince Philip: 70 Years of Service Presenter One-off special
2017—present Love Your Home and Garden Presenter 1 series

Digging the dirt on Titchmarsh

Did you know that in Britain, 4.7 million people watch Gardeners’ World? And that 6.9 million people routinely tuned in to Ground Force during the most recent series? That makes this pair of programmes the top two shows in the brainy sector of television world: BBC2 and Channel 4 respectively, that is.

And perhaps it explains why their perky presenter, Alan Titchmarsh, seemed less than impressed when I proudly told him that The Irish Times circulation was well over 100,000!

Anyway, as if Titchmarsh hasn’t enough to be doing with all of this bouncing around in front of the camera (Ground Force has just moved its new series to BBC 1) – and with writing two regular national columns – he’s gone and written a novel now. Mr Mac-Gregor features a handsome television gardener from Yorkshire (remind you of anyone?) and is a page-turning tale of love, lust, buried treasure and back-stabbing in a very English horticultural habitat. Barbara Cartland meets P.G. Wodehouse in the potting shed. But one of the best things about the book is that its publication made Alan Titchmarsh available for interview, providing an opportunity for us to find out all about the man who, in 1997, was named Yorkshire Man of the Year and this January, was awarded number 12 in Elle magazine’s “Hip 100”.

When I asked my gardening friends what they most wanted to know about this ultimate son of the soil, one said: “Ask him is he married.” Another urged: “Find out if he has a girlfriend, and where he goes on holidays”. (Was nobody interested in his gardening techniques, likes or dislikes?)

So, here goes: Alan Titchmarsh is 49-years-old. He has been married to Alison for 23 years. They have two daughters aged 18 and 16 (and four chickens, two ducks, two cats and two dogs) and he likes to go to the south coast of England for his holliers – where he “pootles around in The Solent in a very slow old motor boat”.

Alan, as anybody with half an eye on Gardeners’ World knows, lives at “Barleywood” – a pseudonym for his Hampshire home. “We chose the name to avoid people pulling up at the gate”. The garden, which is “chalk, clay and flint” measures just over an acre and is on a one-in-four hill sloping to the northwest. “It is really foul, but if you dig loads of muck in, stuff grows”. A part-time gardener, Sue, “comes in a few times a week”, while a full-time estate manager looks after a further 30 acres of field and woodland. At Barleywood, few chemicals are used: “common-sense organic gardening, rather than evangelical,” he stresses. “I haven’t sprayed with a pesticide for years, but I do occasionally use Roundup to clear the weeds in an area I’m about to cultivate.”

Favourite plants depend on the season: “They’re different every week, that’s the joy of gardening in Britain.” Geraniums – both the hardy ones and the pelargoniums – are especially cherished. “And I love quite a few common things, like sweet pea, and pinks and old roses . . . I’m a bit of an old rooo-mantic really,” he purrs.

Gladioli – the big showy ones – are despised: “I hate them with a passion that’s intense. They’re so stiff and unwieldy, like magic wands!” But he does like their traditional bed-mates, dahlias and begonias. “I like plants that repay your kindness with equal generosity,” he says warmly. “I get impatient with things that are so fiddly that you have nine months of very difficult nurturing to produce three tiny brown flowers.” Despite this, he delights in alpines, “I love dionysias. But some of the more obscure alpines that look like little pieces of mud don’t grab me!”

Alan Titchmarsh has brought a sense of fun to gardening on the television that wasn’t there before, but apparently he’s brought something else too. Sex. “He’s not a gardener, he’s a mighty sex god!” swooned Deborah Ross in The In- dependent. So, no better man to make sense of that often-repeated adage that “gardening is the sex of the nineties”. What does he think?

His voice deepens as he answers: “I’d rather enjoy both I think, rather than one substituting for the other.” But another question must be asked, on the instruction of one of my more low-minded friends: does he not think that it’s unhygienic for gardeners who always have dirty hands to be having sex? “Oh no,” he replies, “I’m pretty scrupulous about that!” And he goes on to say that a certain journalist suggested that the sex in his novel, which is “all about clean towelling robes and shiny floors” was very wholesome. “Perhaps I’ve got a cleanliness fetish,” he admits. “I don’t like grubby hands, you’re right. And I’ve just done Gardeners’ World today, and I’ve just washed my hands and they’re very clean,” he says laughing, but with some finality.

Back to matters horticultural: the advent of gravel, pebbles and decking has changed gardening no end. “It opens up the garden as an all-weather surface. But now we could get slightly more “planty” around these decking areas.” Let’s have a wider range of plants, he says. And what would he like to change about gardening? “This may sound terribly altruistic,” he says, “but I’d like to stop people worrying about it all, to stop thinking that the garden is something to be tidied. Yes, if I could stop people tidying up…”

Mr MacGregor by Alan Titchmarsh is published by Simon & Schuster (£16.99 in UK)

The size of Denise Dunne’s garden grew rather spectacularly in the caption with last week’s garden column. Her garden is actually one acre, with over 200 varieties of herbs.

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