Alan Titchmarsh offers key advice for creating a ‘perfect’ woodland themed garden

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Alan Titchmarsh appeared on ITV’s Love Your Garden this evening where the garden expert and his team were tasked with creating a woodland-inspired green space. Alan provided valuable advice on how gardeners could replicate their own woodland theme.

Among the trees featured in the upper canopy of the garden Alan designed was a Japanese Maple.

“The Japanese Maples are such a good buy,” said Alan, adding that the species of the woody plant are ideal in small gardens.

Beside the plant, Alan planted a Betula utilis Jacquemontii Silver Birch.

He explained that the “white stem” of the silver birch provided a good contrast to the tones of the Japanese Maple.

“The thing about birches is the canopy is light and feathery – it casts dappled shade, not deep gloom,” explained Alan.

He also planted a Prunus serrula, or Tibetan Cherry, as it’s also called. Alan described the tree as “a cherry which has bark like polished mahogany”.

Alan highlighted that the tree’s attractive qualities were ideal because once it had lost its leaves during winter, it still provided “some interest in the garden.”

Alan explained that a Gillenia, which is a perennial herb, should be planted in dappled shade.

“It’s not often planted, but really worth growing,” he said.

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The plant, which is from the Rosaceae family, produces delicate white flowers.

A Gillenia grows well with a Jacob’s Ladder Polemonium Ladbroke mauve, Alan explained.

“It’s quite low growing, which means it’s self-supporting.”

Sweet woodruff, or Galium odoratum, as it’s also known, is a herb which thrives in a shaded area.

“It used to be used as a strewing herb when we all lived in mud huts,” said Alan.

He explained that the herbs have a strong sweet scent.

To gain inspiration for the greenspace, Alan visited a woodland garden in Disley, Cheshire.

While exploring the garden, Alan said: “You don’t need a dense planting of trees to make a woodland garden.” 

He pointed out that a Hazel tree, which can be grown as a deciduous tree or large shrub, was an effective choice of tree.

“A dappled canopy like that comes from a modest size Hazel tree and is perfect,” said Alan.

“It lets through shafts of sunlight, but protects the understorey from anything too scorching.”

Alan explained that a technique of layers had been employed in the garden. He demonstrated how larger shrubs below the tree canopy offered “tantalising glimpses through to secluded spaces.”

Love Your Garden can be viewed on the ITV Hub.

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