I’m thrilled today to feature an interview with well-known gardening expert and TV presenter, Alan Titchmarsh, who I had the pleasure of meeting recently at a Waitrose Press Event.
Alan Titchmarsh and Waitrose is a new gardening range. Could you tell us about the plants in the Cut Flower Collection?
We have a wonderful range of plants in the Cut Flower Collection. They include Larkspur Kingsize Scarlet ‘Annual Delphinium’, Chrysanthemum carinatum ‘Silver Spoons’, Agrostemma githago ‘Ocean Pearl’, Chrysanthemum carinatum ‘Bright Eye’, Chrysanthemum carinatum ‘Sunset’, Salvia horminum Claryssa Mixed ‘Clary Sage’, Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Double Click’, Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Pied Piper’, Sweet William ‘Summer Sundae’ (Dianthus barbatus), Stock Mixed (Matthiola incana), Stock Aida Mixed (Matthiola incana), Bupleurum rotundifolium Griffithii, Antirrhinum Rocket Mixed (Snapdragon), Larkspur Sublime Mixed ‘Annual Delphinium’ and Helichrysum bracteatum King Sized Mixed (Strawflower).
How did you decide upon which flowers to include in the collection?
I wanted to include a range of flowers that I love and which are rewarding to grow – things which are not excessively tricky, but which repay a moderate amount of care.
What are you top tips on growing your own cut flower patch?
Find a spot in the sun on a well-drained patch of soil and sow the seeds during a mild spell. Do not let them dry out during the germination period, but don’t keep them soggy either – gentle moisture is what they need.
Could you tell us about the Bee and Butterfly Mats?
The Bee Mat contains annual, biennial and perennial species of flowers that are a great source of pollen and nectar to bees and other pollinators including Common Knapweed, Greater Knapweed, Golden Rod, Chrysanthemum mix, Borage, Anise hyssop, Cornflower, Verbena, Lady Phacelia and Viper’s Bugloss. The Butterfly Mat contains Ragged Robin, Common Yarrow, Corn Chamomile, Knapweeds, Wild Marjoram and Red Campion.
To celebrate the 50th year of the RHS’s Britain in Bloom campaign and your 50th year in horticulture, you’re designing a garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. What can you tell us about it?
It’s called ‘From the Moors to the Sea’ and will include a moorland stream, which wends its way between boulders and moorland plants, birch and pine trees and drystone walls to a seaside cove with a beach house, seaside planting and waves lapping the shore. I began my gardening on the Yorkshire Moors and now garden on the Isle of Wight coast. As well as following my own journey as a professional gardener for 50 years, the garden also celebrates the diversity of plants that have gone into making Britain in Bloom over its own half century.
You’re currently developing a new ITV series, Britain’s Best Gardens, where you’ll be featuring the 30 best private gardens in Britain. Could you tell us more about it and how can people nominate their garden?
To mark the 50th year of my horticultural career, Spun Gold TV, an independent production company, will be showcasing the best private, domestic gardens in Britain with a series called ‘Britain’s Best Gardens‘. They’re looking for gardens that are owned and maintained by the nation’s horticultural heroes, who’ve turned their backyards into amazing spaces.
These gardens will represent what gardening means in the country. They are our gardens that say as much about us and who we really are as they do about the blooms, lawns and fragrant borders. The final 30 selected gardens will be revealed in three primetime, hour long shows, to air on ITV in 2015.
Spun Gold TV are seeking applications from the length and breadth of Britain with an array of horticultural wonders from the outrageous to the draw-droopingly beautiful, the grand and opulent to the small and perfectly formed. This is the series that opens the gates to gardens that are works of art, labours of love, flights of fantasy and even feats of engineering. All private, domestic gardens are eligible for entry.
Applying to the programme is easy – just email Alan@spungoldtv.com with some information about the garden (please include its location, size and contact details for yourself – phone and email) along with a few photos of the nominated garden. Or write to Britain’s Best Gardens, PO Box 64382, London, EC2P 2GJ. The closing date for applications is July 20th 2014.
Thank you so much to Alan for all his help in compiling today’s blog post. Do look out the Alan Titchmarsh and Waitrose new Cut Flower Collection, the next time you’re in Waitrose.
P.S. You can follow Britain’s Best Gardens on Twitter and Facebook.
(Image : 1. Jonathan Buckley, 2. Spun Gold TV)