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Alan Titchmarsh Column - April/May 22

Green Fingers…The Alan Titchmarsh Column

He’s a brilliant presenter, accomplished gardener, talented novelist and all-round horticultural inspiration. This month, Alan Titchmarsh talks about the advent of spring, and how our gardens are beginning to open back up again.

There is something about spring that just feels like the world is alive and fertile and rich again. You can usually sense it on a particular day – that day when you can smell the season has arrived; when you see those first shoots breaking on an apple tree branch or a hawthorn hedge.

It’s like all those months of dampness, coldness and struggle have just flitted away on the breeze – the world feels like a different place.

And as a gardener you always have a little moment in February when you think maybe this year it won't happen, but it always does, and I love it when the first green haze comes across the horizon.

Of course, that’s the signal to formulate plans and consider the things you want your garden to represent this year, and that’s very exciting. A big part of that is anticipation, which is an underrated commodity. People want everything instantly now because they are able to go into a supermarket and have what they want, when they want it. I quite like looking forward in life, I enjoy anticipation because, of course, when it does happen, it's that much more enjoyable.

Where the garden is concerned, there are a few basics to look on and check - you need to remind yourself of your plot in terms of sunshine and shade, and its capabilities. Remember, poor soil isn’t a barrier - you can grow all kinds of things in tubs and pots and troughs. And just because what you have may be small, it doesn't mean it's hard to find things to grow in it. It's easy to grow salads in a small space, or tomatoes in summer. Even dwarf fruit in large pots. No, you won't be self-sufficient, but you know that you grew it.

Personally, I’m looking forward to the first sight of asparagus in April. And from this point forward, there will be something new poking its head out every few weeks – the garden is like a theatre production playing out in front of you as things gradually come into their natural season… from winter snowdrops through to daffodils, then tulips, summer strawberries into autumn raspberries.

It’s all there in front of you, so make the most of your garden this year by planning for each month now.