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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 1 May 2002
My wife and I required help. We had just bought a house with gardens that required much attention - Lawns that had had many football tournaments played on them, flowerbeds that resembled war zones and barren areas of land that made the Sahara desert look positively fertile.
We had studied many gardening books, many of which were good, but none aimed at the 'absolutely useless'. After watching Mr. Titchmarsh's series on back to basics gardening we decided to check out the accompanying book.
Were we impressed? Absolutely. There's everything here that the beginner could wish for. What tools you require and their uses. Garden pests and ways to remove them. Correct ways, positions, and times of year of planting, to name but a few topics. My only gardening 'skill' was mowing the lawn. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I'd been doing it wrong (Cutting too short, not removing dead grass, etc).
If the only time you get green fingers is after picking your nose (sorry) then this is a perfect book and cannot be recommended enough.
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on 6 May 2002
How good it was to read a gardening book written for a true novice. Alan does not assume that you know anything except that the garden is usually outdoors. All is explained clearly but not in a patronising way, the pictures would surely inspire anyone to get out there and have a go at creating their own little paradise.
What a refreshing change this book is to all the fashionable 'no plants' type of gardening, I was quite sad when I finished reading it. I have had a garden for quite a while,mine has grown randomly without any design whatsoever, but Alan's book has inspired me to have a go at designing my own triangles.
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on 20 February 2002
A very well written book in simple language, yet full of valuable information from start to finish. Mr Titchmarsh takes you through a brief explanation of what gardening is or should be and onto the basic fundamentals explaining about soil and how plants live, breath and grow. Easy to read and excellent photographs. i particularly enjoyed the sections on pests which will hopefully get rid of the army of never ending slugs in my garden! Written with his usual sense of humour I found it more like a one to one chat than reading a book. Very informative for the whole spectrum of gardening, can't wait for the tv series.
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on 18 April 2002
The secret of Alan Titchmarsh's success lies in his ability to communicate with novices and old hands alike, at the same time and with neither feeling patronised or talked down to. He is at the same time a teacher, friend and fount of all wisdom. I particularly liked the section on design which made it quite impossible to fail to produce results. I have been a gardener for a few years, and found that this book plugged some of the gaps that inevitably occur when one is self-taught. For the beginner, it could quite possibly be the only book you will need (for a few years at least!)
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on 23 March 2002
Alan really has the nack of putting something that is often shrouded in mystery in a clear and simple way. This book does just that. It takes you through the stages of assessing your plot, how to plan your next move and how to maintain the beautiful garden you have created.
It is particularly helpful to the first time or less experienced gardner often faced with a myriad of other books and magazines.
Choose this one and you'll be off to a flying start!
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on 7 February 2003
If you've seen the series, this book is pretty much what you'd hope it would be. (I write this having seen only the first programme.) Equally, it would work very well as a stand-alone book - it isn't derivative at all. It has all the main points of the series, and it also fills in the detail and substance.
There are sections on developing your own design; vertical gardening (hedges, climbers etc); patio gardening; beds & borders; water features; edible gardens; and gardening under cover. (There's also a tiny bit about wildlife gardening.) Although there are lots of glossy pictures, they're all useful and relevant. The text is friendly and very helpful.
Don't buy it, even if you fancy it, if you already know a lot about planning a garden, because you'd find it patronising.
I find the tone really encouraging, and it is less chatty than the programmes. Definitely worth getting if you enjoy the series and want to put it into practice, or if you weren't able to see the programmes.
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on 18 February 2003
I bought this book having moved into my first home with garden. The book gave me many ideas and tips on how to turn my garden from a plot of grass, into a beautiful flower and shrub garden. It explains the terminology used in the book, ie thinning out, dead-heading etc. Being new to gardening this book really helped me achieve good results in my garden without killing everything. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Well worth buying!
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on 22 March 2002
This book has the same kind of cheeky attitude as the man himself,an EXCELLENT reference for any new gardener (like myself)and a pleasure to read.Now I have the confidence to tackle my garden and find pleasure as i do it.Well done Allen,can't wait for book two.
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on 20 May 2015
I've watched Alan T on many gardening programs over the years but now being responsible for a garden for the first time I was stummped by the most basic question; 'Which ones are weeds?' This book is ideal if you are a total newbie to gardening as it expects no prior knowledge and doesn't bombard you with terminology you won't handle.

Which tools do you need to get started, which ones are weeds, its all in here. Yes I still had questions after this book as its more an introduction to gardening rather than a fully comprehensive guide for all occasions. I also bought his Gardeners Year book as it tells you what to do and when. That one is more like the section in Gardeners world 'What to do this weekend' and is also highly recommended for newbies. They are good partner books. Start with these two for a good grounding (sorry for the pun) and then when you have a plan for how you would like your garden to be, you can go on to other books dedicated to those areas or plant types.
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on 3 January 2004
I bought this book for my father who is an avid gardener but ended up reading it myself! It is very thorough and doesn't assume previous knowledge of the subject. Great for beginners and for those wishing to brush up on fundamentals which can sometimes get forgotten. It is heartening to see Dr Titchmarsh do something to encourage REAL gardening. Unfortunately, after all, he and his erstwhile Ground Force colleagues are largely responsible for the deplorable trend which has led to half the gardens in the country - certainly half those in my town - being buried under decking,chippings and paving slabs! Maybe Dr Titchmarsh should produce a wildlife gardening book/programme to make up for his role in helping to create all those sterile, plantless concrete wastelands.
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