Alan Titchmarsh was born and brought up on the edge of Ilkley Moor in Yorkshire and started growing things at the age of ten in his parents' back garden. He left school at fifteen and became an apprentice gardener in the local nursery, following this with full time training at horticultural college and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
After a spell as Supervisor of Staff Training at Kew he became a horticultural journalist, first as an editor of gardening books, then as Deputy Editor of Amateur Gardening magazine before becoming a freelance broadcaster and writer. He won a Gold Medal at the Chelsea Flower Show in 1985 for a country kitchen garden.
He has twice been named 'Gardening Writer of the Year' and for four successive years was voted 'Television Personality of the Year' by the Garden Writers' Guild. In 2004 he received their Lifetime Achievement Award. He writes regularly in BBC Gardeners' World Magazine and Country Life, as well as being gardening correspondent for the Daily Express and Sunday Express.
Alan has written over fifty gardening books, including the fastest-selling gardening book of all time - How to be a Gardener Book 1, The Basics - which topped the best seller lists for the best part of a year. Book 2, Secrets of Success also shot to the top of the charts. His eight novels - Mr MacGregor (1998), The Last Lighthouse Keeper (1999), Animal Instincts (2000), Only Dad (2001), Rosie (2004), Love and Dr Devon (2006), Folly (2008) and The Haunting (2011) were all Sunday Times top ten best sellers. Fill My Stocking, a Christmas anthology, was published in October 2005, and Alan’s memoirs, Trowel and Error (2002), sold over 200,000 copies in hardback. Nobbut A Lad, about his Yorkshire childhood, was published in October 2006 with similar success. A set of gardening guides have been published since 2009, a further volume of autobiography, Knave of Spades, came out in September 2009, followed by When I Was A Nipper in 2010, a nostalgic journey through post-war Britain in search of treasured values and traditions. 2011 saw the publication of The Complete Countryman – a user’s guide to lost skills and country crafts, and in 2012 , Elizabeth, Her Life, Our Times: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration
Alan has appeared on radio and television both as a gardening expert and as an interviewer and presenter. He presented the BBC's annual coverage of The Chelsea Flower Show for thirty years, and hosts his own radio show on Classic FM on Saturday mornings.
For seven years Alan was the main presenter of BBC2's Gardeners' World, which came from his own garden - Barleywood in Hampshire - and took gardening on to BBC1 with the hugely popular Ground Force, which, at its peak, pulled in 12 million viewers. During the course of the series, Alan designed over 60 gardens, including one for Nelson Mandela. These programmes were followed by two series of How to be a Gardener, and by The Royal Gardeners, which traced the influence of the kings and queens of England on gardening styles from the Norman Conquest to the present day. In 2004 Alan presented British Isles - A Natural History - a landmark television series for BBC 1. In 2005 he was the presenter of 20th Century Roadshow, about 20th century collectables, and heard as the voice of Gordon the Garden Gnome in a cartoon series for children's BBC. The Gardener’s Year, a BBC 2 series in six parts, was shown early in 2006. The Great British Village Show, with the final at Highgrove House, broadcast in summer 2007, showing quintessential British village life at its best, was very well received. Alan is a regular compere with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Birmingham Royal Ballet, and has presented the BBC Proms, including the Last Night of the Proms, on BBC1.
In autumn 2007 Alan presented an epic journey across the length and breadth of Britain, exploring the huge diversity of wildlife in The Nature of Britain, shown on BBC One. His own daytime show on ITV, The Alan Titchmarsh Show, features a combination of music, the arts and conversation, giving Alan the chance to meet and talk with people from all walks of life – both the famous and the less well-known ‘national treasures.’ There have been twelve series of The Alan Titchmarsh Show on ITV1. In early 2010 Alan co-presented ITV1’s Pop Star to Opera Star, and the four series (there are more being planned) of Love Your Garden have proved immensely popular.. In 2012 Alan presented Dumfries House, and Elizabeth, Queen, Wife, Mother, and hosted the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
Alan Titchmarsh is a Freeman of the City of London, he has received the award of Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Bradford, and Honorary Doctor of the University of Essex and also has honorary degrees from both Leeds Metropolitan University and the University of Winchester. In 1997 he was named 'Yorkshireman of the Year’. He was appointed MBE in the 2000 New Year Honours list, for services to horticulture and broadcasting, and a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Hampshire in 2001. In 2004 he was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's highest accolade - the Victoria Medal of Honour - for outstanding services to horticulture. The VMH is held by no more than 63 recipients at any one time. In 2009 he was made a Vice President of the RHS. He is patron or president of over 50 charities and organizations and he has also been immortalized in Madame Tussaud's. He was appointed High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight from April 2008 to April 2009.
Alan lives in Hampshire (and the Isle of Wight) with his wife, and assorted livestock in an old farmhouse with a 4-acre garden. When not tending that, or his family, or the animals, he enjoys being out on the water.