Alan Titchmarsh's new BBC garden show will focus on how large gardens influence design today

A new gardening series later this year for the BBC will be presented by Alan Titchmarsh

"It's looking at the larger, grander gardens and incorporating a bit of history, then saying how that's influencing what we are doing today, and that's very practical. I'm trying to marry the two things together," he said at the opening of the RHS Hyde Hall visitor centre.

"It hasn't been done to that degree before so I'm curious to see whether I can. It will focus on four different periods and it will be centred on a garden but with satellite visits to others as well."

He will present Chelsea Flower Show coverage on the BBC this May. "It's not enough just to show something, you have to engage the customer," he explained.

"Garden centres in particular have to be more proactive, they can't just fill beds with an A to Z of shrubs and hope people come in. We have got to improve our outreach. That's what my life in gardening broadcasting has been spent doing - reaching out to people and trying to engage them. We all have to do that.

"Whether you're a grower or a garden centre, you can't just sit back and blame other folk. You have got to get off your bum and do something about it. If you get someone by your display, it's up to you to try and engage them rather than just standing by it and bemoaning the fact that they didn't buy anything."

On the peat debate, Titchmarsh added: "It's easier now than it used to be. We don't need peat in the garden at all. There are far better things than peat. To pretend that we didn't ever need peat wasn't helpful, but it is now much easier to avoid it."

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