An evening with Alan Titchmarsh

A passion for nurturing new life in the garden and the vital role of evening mealtimes in the home were two of the inspiring insights shared by gardener and broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh in a recent interview at St Paul’s. (Click here to see the report in the Hampshire Chronicle.)

An Evening with Alan Titchmarsh was organised by the Friends of St Matthew with St Paul and raised more than £1,000 to support the preservation of the two church buildings in the parish.

In a moving discussion with parishioner and former BBC Deputy Director General Mark Byford, the renowned gardener, broadcaster and novelist spoke about his life, his inspirations and his loves.

He said the secret to being a good gardener was ‘a sense of feeling’: for cultivation and growth and a critical passion for nurturing new life. He spoke lovingly of his parents and his childhood in Ilkley, Yorkshire. Happily married for 40 years, with two daughters and grandchildren, he also emphasised the importance of regular communication within families and the pivotal role of the dining table and evening mealtimes in bringing family members together.

Alan Titchmarsh spoke about his break into television, becoming the resident gardening expert on the BBC programmes Nationwide and Breakfast Time, and presenting the Chelsea Flower Show for more than 30 years.

In 1997, he was catapulted to the status of national treasure with the hugely successful makeover programme Ground Force, which he presented for more than five years and regularly achieved up to 12 million viewers. He spoke about the seminal moment meeting Nelson Mandela, after the team transformed his garden in Qunu in South Africa, and how the president told him he nurtured two tomato plants whilst in prison, which gave him a sense of new life, new beginning and hope.