a river filled with water and a city in the background

Holland in Bloom 2017: A Q&A with Alan Titchmarsh

Join Emerald Cruises for our unforgettable gardening-themed itinerary, Holland in Bloom, and enjoy spending time with none other than renowned gardener, presenter and novelist, Alan Titchmarsh.

Over the course of this wonderful 8-day river cruise from Amsterdam, you’ll join Alan for a guided tour of the esteemed Keukenhof Gardens, the world’s largest flower show, before hearing personal stories and gardening tips from the man himself during a private talk and Q&A. 

As the author of over 40 gardening books and several novels, Alan has a huge depth of knowledge when it comes to horticulture, and will be all too happy to answer your gardening queries during the question and answer session. The itinerary also includes a meet-and-greet with the Telegraph’s chief gardening expert, Helen Yemm, as well as the chance to visit a string of incredible destinations, including Antwerp, Arnhem and Hoorn.

Given that the Holland in Bloom itinerary is just a few weeks away, Alan was kind enough to answer a few questions about what visitors can expect during the river cruise, and offer some tips for those taking a river cruise for the first time.

Read the full Alan Titchmarsh interview below.

As a renowned gardener, you must have visited Keukenhof many times. What attracts you back to the gardens, and what can guests look forward to during their visit?

The sheer spectacle of Keukenhof is unlike any other — hundreds of thousands of bulbs, especially tulips, flowering at the peak of perfection, and what attracts me as a gardener is how well grown they all are. It is a brilliant place to come to spot new varieties, so I always note them on my mobile phone. I can promise that no-one will have seen such a display before - subtlety is not the name of the game, but it really is breath-taking.

Of the 800 varieties of tulips which bloom in Keukenhof, which is your favourite and why?

That’s an impossible question!  I have two borders running up to my greenhouse in which I grow a different tulip variety each year.  This year is the delightful pink ‘Mariette’.

Given that you’ll be joining the ‘Holland in Bloom’ cruise in Amsterdam, are there any new areas of the city you plan to explore during your visit, and would you recommend any particular attractions to Emerald Cruises’ guests?

I’m bringing my wife this year and want to show her the Rijksmuseum which has a peerless collection of Dutch masters, and the flower stalls alongside the canals which sell so many kinds of bulbs. I’m always tempted!

What can guests expect from your private talk and Q&A, and would you encourage people to come armed with their gardening queries?

It will be an evening of reminiscences, entertainment (I hope!) and information. I’m always happy to answer questions, so guests can come armed with as many as they like.

What do you like most about river cruising, and which rivers (if any) have you visited previously?

I love cruising, full stop. I am a boater and keep a small craft on the Solent. The great thing about river cruising is that you can avoid road traffic and seasickness! You are always on calm waters and glide by the world, looking at it through the back door. Lovely.  I have cruised the Danube before and thoroughly enjoyed it.

If you could take a cruise on any of the world’s rivers, which would it be and why?

I have plans to cruise the Mississippi, hopefully next year, and I quite fancy the Amazon, too, up as far as the opera house at Manaus.

What one piece of advice would you give to those taking a river cruise for the first time?

Relax and enjoy it.  The great thing is that you only have to unpack once and they keep moving the scenery without you having to lift a finger.

Interested in joining Alan for this unforgettable 8-day river cruise? Places on-board are extremely limited, so call us today on 855 444 0161 to avoid missing out.