Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Gardeners Question Time: In which "Dog's bottom" may be said

My third visit to a recording of Gardeners' Question Time last week didn't disappoint. Eric Robson was in the chair (hurrah!), with Matthew Biggs, Anne Swithinbank and Chris Beardshaw ready to answer our questions.

I went on my own this time, but that didn't matter as there were plenty of people to chat to during coffee beforehand and whilst we took our seats. I met a mother and daughter celebrating their birthdays that day, plus I sat next to a couple who were at the same recording I went to three years ago.

All manner of plants and photographs were clutched by prospective questioners, all hoping to be called down to the front row of seats reserved for those chosen to pose their query. Producer Dan reassured everyone,  'If you're not chosen, it doesn't mean you're a bad gardener'.

Our powers of clapping were tested, and a few gardening jokes told to make sure we were in good humour, whilst Hester posed with her enormous recording boom, and Pete and Pete (or was it Paul and Paul, or a combination of the two?) twiddled their knobs both inside the theatre and in the van outside, to make sure everything was ready for the recording.

GQT question paper and apple trees

Did I get to ask a question? Well, yes I did, and there are several clues to what it's about in the collage above. The program airs tomorrow (30th September) at 3pm, with a shortened repeat at 2pm on Sunday (2nd October). Here's the link to the program on the GQT website - I'm the 5th questioner, about 24 minutes in, after Matthew Biggs's report about a mysterious building in London.

You may get to hear me say "Dog's bottom", if they haven't edited it out...

Gardeners' Question Time Tweet
The mysterious building in London, which I puzzled over when I went Pell-mell to the Mall,
but for some reason I failed to photograph at the time

Update 19th October: I had a lovely message from My Tiny Plot today to say how much she enjoyed listening to my question. It's great we're still in touch after her move from Bath to Portland, USA. It shows how the internet can shrink the world as well as expand it.

You may also like

Gardeners' Question Time Live - my question recorded at Bradford on Avon in 2013
The Curse of Gardeners' Question Time - what happened to my garden after questions were asked at GQT in Chippenham in 2004

PS In Chis Beardshaw's answer on the best aspect to have for a garden, he said Victorian gardeners reckoned for every 5 degrees of slope, the garden's climate may 'move' up to a hundred miles south. With a 10 degree slope, that places my garden in the delightful Loire valley. No wonder my patio gets so hot ;)


  1. Oh, I shall listen out for you! Another friend recently took part in the GQT at the top of Snowdon. She got on the train with the team and the production people. Said it was a fun outing with lots of laughter. Matt Biggs comes from Leicester, so I know him. As nice in real life as he seems on the programme.

    1. Ooh I love that trip up Snowdon! I hope you enjoy the show - I have a visit to the WI garden in Bath on my To Do list as a result :)

  2. Replies
    1. They were discussed as part of the answer to my question, yes ;)

  3. I'd go with Anne's suggestion of Damsons

    1. It's a good suggestion - I need to check whether there's a rootstock suitable for a pot and what's needed re pollination. I'm a bit disappointed they edited out Eric Robson, as he got all enthusiastic about extending my orchard beyond 5 trees and suggested several more varieties. Sadly I can only remember Ribston Pippin. We had a lovely conversation. They've also edited out the woman from the WI, which is a shame as she'd admitted to me how nervous she was beforehand.

    2. They said they would list all the plants/varieties on their website, but I've checked and they only listed Anne's, Matt's and Chris's. Maybe you could email them and see if they have an record of what Eric said still?

  4. Here's a North American gardener all envious of UK-y gardening media things like GQT! Happy for you, VP. I'll try to listen without weeping.


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