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Alan Titchmarsh webchat

(68 Posts)
LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 25-Sep-14 15:52:36

We're very pleased to announce that national gardening treasure, author and broadcaster, Alan Titchmarsh, will be joining us at HQ on 10 October to answer all your questions.

From Ground Force to The Alan Titchmarsh Show, Alan has been on our screens for more than twenty years now, and was awarded the MBE in the Millennium New Year Honours list. He started his working life as a gardener in his native Yorkshire at just 15 and went on to become a renowned gardening writer and broadcaster.

Over the last twenty years he has also presented several documentaries about the Royal Family, managed to ride with The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery without falling off and his book Elizabeth: Her Life, Our Times was written for the Diamond Jubilee.

His new book, The Queen's Houses is a guided tour through every apsect of the five royal residences and is published on 9 October by BBC Books. His show, The Alan Titchmarsh Show, is on ITV at 3pm Monday to Friday.

Leave your questions for Alan below and make sure you join us for the webchat on the afternoon of 10 October.

HildaW Thu 25-Sep-14 20:05:26

Am holding my breath for a Monty Don one.......much more my cup of tea.

NfkDumpling Thu 25-Sep-14 20:27:38

Hi Alan, I would appreciate your advise - even if Hilda doesn't!

I'm part of a small group (eight of us) who've been slowly adding flower tubs around our little market town (the council maintain they're too poor, although they have arranged insurance cover in case a box of plants breaks loose and chases someone down the high street).

It looks as if we may get permission to plant under the town welcome signs out on the main road. Because it's a fast busy road maintainence will be difficult and watering impossible. Please, can you suggest any inexpensive (or they'll get pinched), hardy, colourful plants which would not grow taller than one metre? The soil is good, well drained, neutral touching on acid. Any suggestions would be welcome. Thanks.

rubylady Fri 26-Sep-14 05:21:41

How is it best to move container plants, buddleia, rose tree, cherry tree, beech tree from one house to another? Xxx

Penstemmon Fri 26-Sep-14 21:41:31

Hi Alan,

It is a lifetime since my DH & I watched you and Alison in Music Hall shows in BROS! We have mutual friends in Bramley!

My gardening question is about a persistent 'fairy ring' in the grass (lawn would be a bit presumptuous!!) Is there a way to get rid of the toadstools or do I have to wait for them to go on their own?? Efforts so far have not been effective.

henetha Sat 27-Sep-14 13:35:13

Hi Alan,
I recently cleared a small flower bed which is almost always in the shade.
It's behind the back wall of the garage, and is about 6' by 2' . I have left a rambling rose which climbs the garage wall, but cleared some old lavender etc. I thought maybe a flowering shrub might be best now. Or some perennial which likes shade? Any suggestions, and when is the best time to plant?
Thank you Alan. smile

joannapiano Sat 27-Sep-14 16:05:23

Hello Alan,
We had a good crop of Moneymaker tomatoes, grown in grow bags in our greenhouse, this year. The only problem was that they had very tough skins. I have resorted to making them into sauce.
This is the first time we have had this problem.
What variety would you suggest we plant next year?

buffersmoll Sun 28-Sep-14 19:07:58

Hi Allan can you help with raspberries. I let runners from old and very productive canes develop into plants in the bed at the side of the old canes but when the fruit on these new canes developed they were very small fruits with four or five berries, when any attempt to pick them they fell away or were nocked off. don't know the name of the raspberries I inherited them. They fruit twice a year May for the birds, Autumn for me. Many thanks for your guidance for so many years.

libbalobba Mon 29-Sep-14 10:28:56

Hi Alan, you have more recently made quite a name for yourself as an expert on things Royal. Given this and the TV show do you still see yourself as a gardener first and foremost?

pat834 Mon 29-Sep-14 10:30:31

Does your interest in royalty stem from the book you did on royal gardens? (Which I have an enjoyed very much)

bettybooop Mon 29-Sep-14 10:32:22

The Queen's Houses sounds really interesting I have ordered it from Amazon. Did you get special access to all of them? And which did you like the best?

neena Mon 29-Sep-14 14:13:07

Hi Alan,

I love your show...and your books about the royals! Have you ever met the queen? And if so what was that like?! Is she your favourite royal or who is if not?

Thank you smile

nancy22 Tue 30-Sep-14 16:44:58

Hi Alan
I just love your programs they are fab, but I do need your help if possible.
I have recently grown a grape tree (well over a year old now).
How long does it take for the grapes to come?
Many thanks

merlotgran Tue 30-Sep-14 17:53:40

Hi Alan,

We have a very large garden on fenland soil which is very fertile. Everyone thinks we're lucky but they should try tackling the nettles which have a sting more effective than a taser!!

My biggest problem is what to grow under three apple trees that I planted alongside a path. There's a clump of lovage that follows snowdrops and tulips but it doesn't seem to matter what I plant either side of it as the nettles soon reappear despite digging out the roots and/or treating with glyphosate. Mulching doesn't work for long - they soon push through it.

I suppose I could leave the nettles for wildlife but then the postman wouldn't be able to get up the path. hmm

rubysong Tue 30-Sep-14 23:08:44

We did try to restrict the roots of our fig tree with slates when it was planted but it has become far too large and I have to do something about it. Can I prune it very hard, or will that just make it even more vigorous? It is about 10 years old and we have never had a fig which ripened enough to eat. We live in east Cornwall and it is on the garage wall, facing south but a bit shaded by other large trees.
(It is by the path the postman takes to go next door and he is almost having to crawl through it.)

annebooth768 Wed 01-Oct-14 10:09:59

This April/May I planted tomatoes for the first time in my plastic greenhouse. They have only started to go red in the last few weeks.
Why have they taken so long to turn?
I am thinking of starting my veg/tomatoes a lot earlier next year maybe Jan/ Feb next year, and starting them off inside my house.
Will this allow them to turn a lot earlier

Purpledaffodil Wed 01-Oct-14 11:57:43

Good morning Alan,
Have you any tips for getting rid of bamboo? I don't want to use viscious chemicals because of our cat and other wildlife, but the wretched stuff pops up everywhere. The rhizomes are too tough to dig out ourselves and now it has crept under the fence to the rented house next door where nothing will be done about it. Help! (Please)

shysal Wed 01-Oct-14 14:35:25

Welcome, Alan. I am interested in your views on artificial turf. At the moment I can manage my steeply sloping lawn (photo on my profile if you have time to look) by wearing crampons, but don't know what I will do when I can no longer mow it. Would you recommend paying somebody to cut the grass or is the better quality fake stuff effective? It would have to withstand badgers and other wildlife trooping up and down every night! Thanking you in anticipation.

nananew Fri 03-Oct-14 12:28:43

Hi Alan,

I do believe you are a grandparent. Me too! My first grandchild was born three months ago, and I am absolutely besotted. We were recently asked on Gransnet what we feel puts the 'grand' in Grandparenting, I was wondering what your response to this would be?

And also how you think it differs to being a parent?

Thanks so much!

Gagagran Fri 03-Oct-14 13:18:53

Hello Alan from a fellow Yorkie - only I'm not from posh Ilkley but pre-Summer Wine Holmfirth when it was a small, back-water mill town. Now live in posh Hampshire though!

My question is about a prunus tree in our small garden, which we pruned right back last year and which has grown enormously again this year.No idea what variety as it was here when we bought this house. The flowers are pale pink in spring and it produces a few very hard plum sized fruits.
Should we prune it back and if so how hard? It does rather dominate at its present size.

Thanks in advance.

kaybh Tue 07-Oct-14 18:24:52

Am I right in thinking you have now written a gazillion books? Which out of all of them do you like the best (or are most proud of) and why

kaybh Tue 07-Oct-14 18:27:37

oops am i allowed another? Alan, do you prefer making programmes about or writing about the royals?

rubysong Tue 07-Oct-14 23:51:58

Can I ask a second question please? We are planning a 'quiet garden' at our church. What kind of shrubs would be the most use for those who do the flowers? (I don't have the flower arranging gene, just shove 'em in a vase.)

suzyl Wed 08-Oct-14 16:55:32

Hello Alan I would love to ask you about the best way to get a young child (3) interested in gardening. I have had so much pleasure from it over the years I would like to pass this on to my grandchildren

ninkynonk Wed 08-Oct-14 16:56:20

With all the books and programmes you have done on the royals I would love to know if you have a favourite. And indeed (if it's not treasonable) a least favourite?