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Even at the ripe old age of 66 I'm still learning about my trade; Alan Titchmarsh is upping tools again for a new series of ITV's Love My Garden. The presenter chats to Keeley Bolger about making over gardens for deserving people, working at Buckingham Palace and the secret to his enduring popularity.

Byline: Keeley Bolger

Whats' it like seeing people's faces after their gardens are made over? IT'S really rewarding and moving to see their reactions when they return home and find their garden has been completely transformed. Hopefully they're blown away when they see what we've done with it.

The people we feature in the series are lovely.

What's important when you're doing up someone else's garden? WHENEVER you're making a garden, you need a little germ or a little spark which sets it, particularly if you're making it for somebody else. All gardens should be for somebody and not just wished upon them. It has to relate to that person. As well as that, I think it's important to give information for other people to use at home [in their own gardens].

What did you learn about the Queen's tastes from filming The Queen's Garden last year? HER staff are always are very careful not to say what the Queen's favourites are, but it became clear that she loves what e Queen s ame clear we would call English cottage garden flowers. She likes proper country flowers. A posy is taken up to her every Monday that she's in residence, so she gets to see how the flowers in the garden evolve throughout the year. It's just a handful of things, five or six different flowers. A bit of everything, to give a snapshot of the garden for that week.

Do you still feel like you're learning about your trade? ALL the time, even at my ripe old age and I've been doing it for a living since I was 15. If you've never been able to grow something, you suddenly find a better technique, or you find a plant you've never encountered before, you know, there are millions of them around. I'm forever trying something new, and if I live to be 530, I'll still be finding new plants. That's the great joy of it, it remains a challenge and it remains changeable, you can do different things every year.

What advice do you have for people who are new to gardening? TAKE time to work out what you really want from your garden before you make it. Observe the path of the sun, it will help you to decide what plants you want where (in sun or shade) and where to site your sitting area. Start with the bit next to the house and work your way down the garden. And be patient!

How do you feel about being labelled a housewives' favourite? IT'S nice to be anybody's favourite. I feel very flattered, but I try not to take it too seriously.

What do you like about writing novels? I THINK the good thing about writing is that it's a solo pursuit and when I'm doing telly, it's sociable. I like quiet time where it's just me and you have peace and quiet. It's a discipline, but it's pleasurable.

What do you put your success down to? MY neighbour said to me, 'I don't know about you but I find the harder I work, the luckier I get.' Well, yes and no. I think you have to work hard, you have to put the hours in. I like being stimulated, being busy. I've always liked doing things, but the other thing is that you've got to take risks, calculated risks. You've got to stick your head above the parapet.

If you weren't doing this, what would you be doing? I'D definitely be the head gardener at Tresco on the Isles of Scilly. It's a Mediterranean garden and it's lovely and warm and sunny. That would suit me just fine.

LOVE Your Garden returns to ITV on Tuesday at 8pm

' All gardens should be for somebody and not just wished upon them. It has to relate to that person...


Alan Titchmarsh plays down his 'housewives' favourite status
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 20, 2015
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