Firms thrilled to work with Titchmarsh on Chelsea garden

Landform Consultants and Kelways working on Chelsea garden with broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh.

Titchmarsh: celebrating career  - image: HW
Titchmarsh: celebrating career - image: HW

Directors at Landform Consultants and Kelways have spoken of their excitement to be working with Alan Titchmarsh on his first RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden for 30 years.

The veteran garden broadcaster, who is also RHS vice-president, is celebrating 50 years of his career and also half a century of RHS Britain in Bloom by creating the Britain in Bloom feature garden with Kate Gould.

Kelways is growing a mix of moorland and coastal plants for a diverse design showing Titchmarsh's journey from his childhood home on the edge of Ilkley Moor to his current family life on the Isle of Wight.

Dave Root, a Kelways director, said: "It's amazing. He's such a massive figure that to be asked to supply most of the plants for the garden is such a massive honour.

"There will be lots of seaside plants there. We did all the plants for the Australian garden that won best in show last year and so we're used to more exotic stuff - we have a go at anything.

"Having plants from the Yorkshire moors right through to the Isle of Wight is going to be interesting. But it's Chelsea so it will work and it will be lovely. We're thrilled to be involved."

Root said the comparison between last year's long winter and this year's lack of frost means that plants are probably growing five weeks ahead of this time last year. The garden will be sponsored by the show's overall sponsor, M&G Investments.

Landform Consultants will build the garden. Managing director Mark Gregory, who first met Titchmarsh when Gregory was a 20-year-old RHS Wisley trainee and Titchmarsh was a BBC radio reporter, said: "I think it's fantastic. Alan is such a massive influence - the guy's a legend and he's an out-and-out horticulture man. He's really excited about doing it.

"It's a bit of a year for me too - 25 years at Chelsea. We'll be two old Yorkshiremen together so we'll have a bit of a giggle. I'm also really excited to work with Kate. I think she's a really underestimated designer. "

Kelways which is already supplying all the perennials for Chelsea designers Charlotte Rowe and Adam Frost as well as all of the plants for Sarah Eberle and Olivia Kirk, is taking on the Titchmarsh/Gould garden "at the last minute". But Root is confident because the nursery has operational flexibility.

Curriculum call - Importance of horticulture

Alan Titchmarsh has called for horticulture to be part of the national curriculum. Speaking at a south London school, he said young people are divorced from nature and the planet will be left in "very shaky hands" if future generations fail to understand it.

Titchmarsh's comments echo the views of the RHS, which has been demanding horticulture's inclusion on the curriculum since 2012 after a survey found that 70 per cent of 18-year-olds thought horticulture was not a career of which to be proud.


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