No Titchmarsh for Chelsea

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015 will be without Alan Titchmarsh working in a professional capacity for the first time in more than 30 years.

Alan Titchmarsh
Alan Titchmarsh
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Alan Titchmarsh was replaced by Monty Don as BBC1 presenter in 2014 after a 30-year stint, but he had a garden to design and build at the Royal Horticultural Society event.

However, in 2015, Britain’s best-loved gardener has no official role at the show for the first time in a generation. Alan’s agent Annie Sweetbaum said: “Alan will be going to Chelsea the same as all the general public.” He remains an RHS vice-president and ambassador.

Last year, he said of losing his BBC role: “I’m not bitter. I was disappointed but I’m not a grudge-bearer. You have to move on. Nobody owes you a living. I’m still gainfully employed. My days aren’t empty.”

Alan will return to ITV1’s garden makeover series Love Your Garden this June. Series associate producer of Love Your Garden, Thea Pitcher said: “We’re really going to push the boat out in terms of the style/design of the gardens this year. We really want to encourage and inspire young people to get out in their gardens, as they are the future of this market. Clearly we won’t be alienating our existing viewers and hope this series will be uplifting for everyone!”

Meanwhile, with Prince Harry announcing a packed schedule before quitting the Army in June, his appearance at the flower show has been put into doubt – although the charity behind his garden this year, and the RHS, hope he will still attend.

Harry is behind the Sentebale garden at this year’s Chelsea as founder of the charity which helps children in Lesotho in Africa. The garden has been designed by Matt Keightley, and follows a 2013 Chelsea garden by Jinny Blom, also for Sentebale.

Before leaving the Army, Harry will spend four weeks in April and May seconded to the Australian Defence Force in Darwin, Perth and Sydney. In May he will tour New Zealand and in late June he will go to Africa.

An RHS representative said: “It’s highly likely he’ll be attending but at the moment there’s no confirmation as to when exactly this might be.”

Sentebale said: “We are hopefully of his attendance but as with all royal protocol we will not be informed of a visit until near to the event itself.”

Other ‘nots’ at Chelsea include women designers –there are only two female-designed show gardens out of 15 – Jo Thompson and Kamellia Bin Zaal.

Hot favourite for best in show is designer Dan Pearson. Dan returns to designing at the show after 11 years away, for Laurent Perrier. He is fitting it in between designing London’s Garden Bridge.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is on 19-23 May at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London SW3 4SL.

Matt Appleby

About Matt Appleby

Matt is a former teacher turned journalist. He took up writing while in New Zealand and trained as a journalist there. He has since written five books (three on cricket and two on gardening) with The Children's Garden due out in spring 2016 published by Frances Lincoln. He writes for Horticulture Week and other publications. Married with two boys, aged 3 and 6 he lives in London.
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