Corsham Gardeners' Question Time

Look, we had our own swanky poster for Corsham Gardeners' Question Time!

Saturday dawned rainy and miserable and by 10am we were wondering if we'd last the whole day. Then the sun came out, Corsham High Street sparkled and people stopped by to ask questions instead of scurrying past to get to their next shopping destination cum shelter.

Loads of people from choir came and said hello and I saw plenty of others from census, creative writing, film club and swimming club days, so it was like a massive reunion as well as me posing as a gardening expert. I'd been a bit nervous about this as some people tend to label you as one simply because you've chosen to blog on the subject, even though it's clear you're working things out as you go along.

I needn't have worried: Tim and I made a great team and having blogged for so long, I found I had a wealth of learning to draw upon. My initial nervousness was soon replaced by enjoyment and I had an absolute blast. There was a steady stream of people rather than a crowd and this meant we had time to talk about lots of different things in addition to the original question. It was a conversation with like minded people of all ages who often approached our stall nervously, but always left with a smile. The six hours simply flew by.

We also met someone from BBC Radio Wiltshire, who asked if she could come to record a couple of pieces from VP Gardens. Errrr my garden's not looking that good at the moment, was my reply. That's OK she said, we'll be on the radio. Well quite, but I'll still be madly tidying things up over the next couple of weeks!

Most frequently asked questions: can I move xxxxx in my garden (substitute plant of your own choice), how to get rid of aphids and when is it going to stop raining? I believe there were more vegetable and fruit growing questions, but Tim might think differently.

Most unusual question: can you successfully grow apple and pear trees in Bangladesh? (sadly not)

Question which stumped us: What's my plant with the white flower? (no plant or photo available and sadly none of the books we had to hand had a plant which matched the description)

Unanticipated activity: Providing plant IDs for the free plants people had picked from the Transcoco stand, or had bought if they didn't join. Sadly we couldn't identify the tomato variety from plants without any fruit!

Judging from the thank you email I received yesterday, the first Corsham Food and Drink Festival won't be the last :D


  1. it was a really enjoyable day and I got some answers to my questions too, so thank you! here's to the next one.

    NB the WV is sprops. I believe you mentioned we needed more of those!

  2. It was great fun and met some lovely people who did ask us some challenging questions! We were proud to have been told that we had saved a rambling rose from certain death and that the advice we offered was more than a match for the local garden centre!
    Here's to the next one!

  3. glad you enjoyed yourselves, & that the rain stopped! good luck with your radio pieces.

  4. Sounds as though Corsham had a big treat!
    Regarding Plant identities from lame descriptions, Bob Flowerdew had a perfect answer: If someone said, 'I've got a bush with dark green leaves and white flowers, what is it?' He'd reply 'I've got a beige car with four wheels and a steering wheel in my drive, what make is it?'

  5. Lu - thanks for your admirable compering and organising yesterday :)

    Tim - it was such fun wasn't it? I'm still smiling from the experience :)

    Petoskystone - thank you!

    PMN - OMG a comment from a real GQT person! I'll remember Bob Flowerdew riposte for next time :) Did you used to have as much fun as we did when you appeared on the programme?

  6. Glad you had a good time, VP - it sounds like it went well.

    So ... when is it going to stop raining?!

  7. Sounds like it went really well. My community garden has thought about running something like this, and your experience has encouraged me to see if we can give it a go. Seriously though, people asked you when it was going to stop raining?!

  8. Hi, I'm new...Yeah, sadly I can't grow apples in the Philippines either... And I've been trying to get rid of snails in my garden.. do you have a more effective method than ash?

  9. Sounds like you and Tim made a great team, and so pleased to hear it all went well and that you enjoyed it.

  10. Juliet - it has stopped raining - for now ;)

    Gwenfar - go for it. We've heaps of ideas to make it better next time. This was more of a try it and see. It was raining for quite a while, hence the jovial questions about when was it going to stop. More of a cheery ice breaker than a serious question :)

    Cecile - welcome and thanks for Following :)

    I'm assuming you're spreading wood ash around plants as some kind of barrier? There's lots of other things you could try - traps filled with beer; coffee grounds spread around plants; copper tape around plant pots or copper rings around plants; some people use pin oatmeal (it expands inside when eaten) though I've not tried it.

    I encourage birds into my garden who feed on my slugs and snails and I also go out with a torch at dusk when they're coming out to feed and hand pick them off my plants. I'll leave you to guess what I then do with them!

    Karen - be prepared for lots of questions when you open your garden for the NGS - I'm sure they won't just be about plant IDs!

  11. Glad to hear that all went well VP. A radio programme ~ that will be fun. Have you identified that white flower yet?

  12. Sounds like a brilliant day!

    I love the bit about worrying about what the garden will look like for the radio!!

  13. Anna - No - I refer you to Bob Flowerdew's response as given by Plant Mad Nige ;)

    Phoenix C - it made me giggle too. She must get that all the time!

  14. Hey well done.
    Glad was succes fou.
    We knew would be.....!
    Best R

  15. Hi Robert - thanks. Here's to next year!


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