GREENFINGERS… the Alan Titchmarsh column

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GREENFINGERS… the Alan Titchmarsh column

He’s a brilliant presenter, accomplished gardener, talented novelist and all-round horticultural inspiration. This month, Alan Titchmarsh talks about making time for your garden to serve you as a place of creativity and contemplation.


It was pointed out to me a few years ago that a lot of my novels contain a sort of yearning for something. That led me to think, maybe I’ve got a deep in-built craving or hankering. Maybe we all have, and in life we’re all looking for something… something more. I think the lucky ones are those who find it and know when they have found it.

So where am I going with this? Well, I do sometimes feel a lot of those wants and desires can be arrested by going to a place that gives you quiet contemplation. It was John Lennon who said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”. Well stop being busy, stop making other plans, and for goodness’ sake get out in that garden of yours and enjoy it!

You see, a real problem for a number of gardeners is the fact we spend hours, days, weeks and months tending to that glorious bit of land. We shovel, trim, cut, prune and pick until our hands are blistered and our knees are sore, yet omit to actually take a step back, or pull up a chair, or just sit on the blessed grass and soak it all in.

Satisfaction in your garden sometimes comes in not gardening; it’s in the ability to stop! So as we get ready for when winter morphs wonderfully into spring, perhaps try to do less, not more.

I know that can be easier said than done; there are always jobs to do, and there will be those of us who cannot sit still in the garden – we find it difficult to stop, to accept a space how it is, always spotting imperfections here and there. In truth, it is all those blemishes and flaws that make nature what it is – beautiful.

I’ve got two gardens of my own and I’m very proud of them – one in Hampshire, and a small coastal plot on the Isle of Wight. They are my achievements, my own little bit of land… but they’re only relevant and special if I remember to spend time in them, enjoying them, and sometimes, you know, doing nothing much at all!


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