A gar­den god’s very own Eden

From a mag­i­cal meadow to a 100ft sledg­ing hill, a rare tour of Alan Titch­marsh’s pri­vate Hamp­shire paradise

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - ANNABEL VENNING

KNowN as the Na­tion’s Head Gar­dener, Alan Titch­marsh has, for decades, shared his pas­sion for plants. Un­like the gar­dens of other TV pre­sen­ters, how­ever, his has re­mained pri­vate — un­til now.

This week, for the first time, he in­vited TV cam­eras into that se­cret gar­den for an ITV pro­gramme, Fifty Shades of Green with Alan Titch­marsh, to cel­e­brate his half-acen­tury spent in gar­dens.

He in­tro­duced view­ers to his 50 favourite hor­ti­cul­tural spots around Bri­tain, from Lon­don’s Kew Gar­dens, where he worked as a young gar­dener, to the glo­ri­ous for­mal green­ery of Siss­inghurst Cas­tle in Kent.

But he saved the best till last. No1 is Alan’s own gar­den at his Hamp­shire home, where he has lived for 17 years. Alan pre­sented TV shows from his pre­vi­ous two gar­dens, but this time he was de­ter­mined the space would be purely for him and his fam­ily, a place of so­lace and en­joy­ment. He says: ‘It’s only now that I’ve been happy to let the cam­eras in for the first time.’

Alan and wife Ali­son set about cre­at­ing their dream gar­den when they bought the house in 2002. As he wrote in Gar­den­ers’ world mag­a­zine in oc­to­ber, ‘it re­flects my pas­sion, my tastes, my love of beauty and wildlife’. This gar­den, he added, ‘mir­rors my soul more than any other’.

There is a wild­flower meadow, a pond teem­ing with wildlife, more for­mal wa­ter fea­tures, clipped hedges, a cen­tral lawn and an av­enue of yew cones. There is also a 100fthigh mound his grand­chil­dren call The Moun­tain. They love rolling down it — or sledg­ing down it in the snow.

The bal­ance of for­mal and in­for­mal — flowerbeds burst­ing with colour bor­der­ing neat lawns — is stun­ning.

Here, we take a peek at some of the high­lights of Alan’s Se­cret Gar­den.

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