20th Century

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Duration: 59 minutes

Alan Titchmarsh presents a stunning series that reveals the amazing secrets behind Britain's great gardens, examining how they continue to influence gardeners, including himself, today.

Alan reveals how Sissinghurst gardens in Kent is one of the most influential of the 20th century. Created by two passionate gardeners, Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Sir Harold Nicholson, its development coincided with key social changes in the British garden.

There was a pre- and post-war boom in surburban housing, creating a generation of domestic gardeners. Despite its size, Sissinghurst appealed to the public because it was a warm and intimate garden and had been designed with a great many practical uses. Alan reveals that it was one of the first lifestyle gardens, made up of different 'rooms' designed for eating, relaxing and entertaining. Ideas that would lead to today's barbecue areas and daybed chillout zones in the garden began here.

Alan shows his own take on the garden room, designing an outdoor dining table filled with herb and fruit plants.

Vita Sackville West was also hugely influential in her use of colour. She used many colours to create a single hue and Alan reveals the myriad of colours in her famous purple border. She was also the first to create an all white garden.

Sissinghurst is also famous for its naturalistic planting and Alan discusses how it works with head gardener Alexis Data. He also shows us how to create a wild flower meadow.

And finally we learn that one part of Sissinghurst, the nuttery, would become famous as one of the first wild gardens. This new philosopohy would ultimately lead to todays perma culture gardens. Alan shows you how to create one in your own garden.


Alan Titchmarsh
Juliet Glaves
Juliet Glaves
Executive Producer
Matt Young


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