Alan Titchmarsh planting a crab apple tree by the side of a cricket pitch for the Isle of Wight's Women's Institute centenary...what could be more English.

The TV gardener, author and chat show host was invited to do the honours at Newport's Victoria Recreation Ground as the WIs notched up 100 years of fun and friendship.

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He turned on the charm and wit as he planted the tree, which he said was ideal for the sunny location.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Alverstone WI members show Alan Titchmarsh Elvira, the mascot with his face knitted into the back of it (above) and WI members at the tree planting, at Newport Victoria Recreation Ground (below).

Isle of Wight County Press:

The ladies of the WIs were delighted to have him along and he said the day was 'just perfect'.

"There are some very nasty things in the world at the moment but things like this show it is not all bad," said Alan.

"Hopefully this tree will grow nicely and people will be able to sit in its shade watching the cricket here on a summer's day,"

Sue Biss, president of the Isle of Wight Federation of WIs, said the event tied in nicely with the Queen's Green Canopy initiative, which has seen trees planted around the country, including the Isle of Wight, to mark the platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

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Sue said: "We chose Victoria Rec as it is the closest green space to the Isle of Wight WI headquarters on The Mall on Carisbrooke Road."

Alan is a former high sheriff of the Isle of Wight and a deputy lieutenant. He has a home in Cowes.

The ladies of Alverstone WI showed their enthusiasm for the celebrity gardener by having his face stitched into the back of their WI mascot Elvira.


After the tree planting, it was back to the pavilion for tea and a slice of centenary cake.