Here I am in the Sunday Mirror, every week, telling you how to get the best out of your gardens. It’s a great pleasure and a privilege but, from tomorrow night, I’m also going to be putting my money where my mouth is by revealing my own garden.
The brilliant Love Your Garden Team are returning with an ITV lockdown special – gardening with a difference.
Rather than transforming other people’s plots, Alan Titchmarsh, Katie Rushworth, Frances Tophill and me will throw open the gates to our own gardens and inviting viewers inside to see just how we do it for Grow Your Own at Home with Alan Titchmarsh. It’s been a great experience and all my family has been involved.
My two daughters, Alice, five, and Abigail, four, have been planting and watering; my one-year-old son Lance has been giving support to his dad by eating our strawberries, and Adele – their mum – has been the camera operator filming us all hard at work.
My children love the garden. We have a smelly leaf border full of scratch and sniff favourites like lemon-scented verbena, spearmint peppermint and chocolate mint plus many more.
Plus, we have more than 30 birdboxes, plus hedgehog homes and even honey bees. My kids especially love peas fresh from the pod – that’s when they taste sweetest – and growing carrots; Alice eats them raw, Abigail when cooked.
Our home-grown rhubarb is a favourite picked fresh and dunked in sugar. But gardens aren’t just for summer – the children also grow Halloween pumpkins and in autumn we pick apples and pears. It really is a magical thing sharing a hobby with your children.
Anyway, for a decade now, Alan, Katie, Frances and I have been travelling the country building gardens for deserving people. In fact, Alan and I have now created more gardens together than he did with Charlie Dimmock and Tommy Walsh on Groundforce. To say we’ve seen Britain’s highways and byways together is missing the half of it.
But when the cameras stop on this new show, rather than returning to a hotel I get to be at home with my family and that has been a real treat.
You’ll see all of us growing in our own gardens – plus spadefuls of advice and examples on what you can achieve in your own plot; from raised beds to converting a piece of lawn to a vegetable growing area, from germinating seeds to growing plants on walls.
There’s going to be lots to hopefully inspire your own efforts. For me, what makes growing fruit and vegetables so special is that it gives you so much more than just what you get to harvest.
Don’t get me wrong, eating your own home-grown produce is not only healthy for you, and the planet, but there are many more benefits.
Firstly, it can save you serious money and, in the current situation with so much uncertainty, that’s not to be underestimated. But it also means, you can top up your supplies without having to risk a visit to the supermarket or local shop. It’s more convenient and safe to visit the end of your garden.
Secondly, it’s great to get the kids to eat vegetables they helped to grow. It adds a new incentive to mealtimes. It’s pure pleasure watching the kids squeal with delight as they pick their own raspberries and pop them straight in their mouths. Imagine harvesting your own sprouts on a frosty Christmas Day?
Or digging fresh carrots for a Sunday roast? It’s all possible even on a relatively small plot. Thirdly, growing your own improves your mental and physical wellbeing – from mood-enhancing vitamin D from sunlight, to the feel-good endorphins from the exercise of gardening.
Not forgetting the calming sight of foliage and nature, fresh air and birdsong that together help create a peaceful, de-stressing state of mind.
Now slugs and snails are starting to creep back
in, deploy beer traps using a sunken jam jar or two
with a splash of IPA or the like. You can buy slug &
snail traps from your local garden centre.
Grow Your Own at Home with Alan Titchmarsh is on ITV on Monday 25th May at 8:30pm on ITV.
Happy gardening everyone!
Why are my hydrangea leaves turning a horrible shade of brown after applying some feed?
If the neat fertiliser came into contact with the foliage when it was applied, it can burn it, causing the damage. Be sure to wash any splashes off thoroughly using water from the hose and then water well in.
Can you overfill hanging baskets?
It’s best to plant baskets with room for plants to grow, as a rough guide make sure foliage doesn’t touch each other when they first get planted. The issue with having hanging baskets is that they dry out ever so quickly, especially in the hot weather we are having.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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