Most British people know Alan Titchmarsh as the guy who pops round you're garden while your away for the weekend, and constructs a gazebo and a nice bit of decking. Of course there is far more to Yorkshire's favourite gardener than this.
Alan was born on the 2 May, 1949, in Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire. He first showed an interest in gardening around the age of 10, when he would potter about in his parents' garden.
When he left school he was offered and took an apprenticeship in gardening at a local nursery. He later went on to train full time at college and then at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. After obtaining his diploma at Kew, he stayed on there as a supervisor, working his way up to staff trainer, before leaving in 1974 to pursue a career in journalism.
Hamlyn Publishing employed Alan as their Assistant Editor of Gardening Books. He stayed with Hamlyn for only two years before moving on to being Deputy Editor for Amateur Gardening Magazine. Three years after this he embarked upon a freelance career.
A Career in Television
We first saw Alan on our televison screens as the gardening expert on Nationwide. This is where he first discovered his love for television presenting. He then went on to present the coverage of the Chelsea flower show in 1983, he has gone done this every year right up until the present day. He also hosted Pebble Mill at One, from 1991 until it was cancelled in 1996.
In 1996 he took over as presenter for Gardeners World, filming it from his own back garden. Then he made gardening the 'in thing' when he brought us Ground Force in 1997, a very popular garden make over show, his co-stars being the very lovely Charlie Dimmock1 and builder/carpenter Tommy Walsh. He has even taken Ground Force world wide, as the team has also completed garden makeovers in America and most famously in South Africa, where they re-vamped Nelson Mandela's garden. Unfortunately Alan left the show in 2002; no more would we see him delicately winding up Tommy Walsh, or entertaining us with his poetry and canny Yorkshire wit. All was not lost though, as he went on to host two series of 'How to be a Gardener', where he taught a nation of non-gardeners to tell the difference between a daffodil and a dandelion.
A Career in Radio
In addition to his television career Alan also could be heard on our airwaves. He hosted a show along with Gloria Hunniford called 'House in a Garden'. He also hosted a series of broadcasts on BBC Radio 2, playing classical music.
The Next Step
Although Alan was not involved in television gardening as such, he still appeared on our screens presenting 'British Isles: A Natural History' and also as the voice of a gnome in the children's cartoon 'Gordon the Gnome'. He has also made appearances on the Antiques Road Show, Songs of Praise and as a guest presenter on the 'Paul O'Grady Show'.
Alan also writes; he has written over 40 books on gardening. In addition to this he has also written two autobiographies 'Trowel and Error' and 'Nobbut A Lad: A Yorkshire Childhood' as well as several novels. So maybe the saying; 'From little acorns big oak trees grow' was coined especially for Alan.
- Freeman of the City of London.
- Honorary Doctor of Science (University of Bradford)
- Honorary Doctor of the University (University of Essex, Leeds Metropolitan University.)
- 1997 Yorkshireman of the year
- MBE (for services to horticulture and broadcasting)
- Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Hampshire in 2001
- Victoria Medal of Honour2 (awarded by the Royal Horticultural Society for outstanding services to horticulture in 2004)