Ness Gardens attracts highest ever audience for BBC Question Time

BBC Radio Four Gardeners Question Time

Panelists: Peter Gibbs, Matthew Wilson, Anne Swithinbank & Bunny Guinness

More than 2,000 gardening enthusiasts attended BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time at Ness Gardens on Saturday, as part of the station’s Summer Garden Party.

Held for the first time in North West, the event was hailed a huge success, attracting the shows highest ever audience numbers.

The popular horticultural show’s panel of well-known gardening experts; Chair, Eric Robson, Peter Gibb, Bob Flowerdew, Pippa Greenwood, Bunny Guinness, Matthew Wilson, Chris Beardshaw, Matthew Banks, Anne Swithenbank and Christine Walkden, delivered a series of demonstrations and drop in clinics, giving enthusiasts the chance to pick up tips.

The panel were joined by experts from the Ness team , who gave tours of the gardens and shared horticultural and gardening techniques with visitors.

Several university staff gave presentations about research into climate change including Dr David Atkinson, from the Institute of Integrative Biology and Keith Hatton, Research Technician at Ness, and who talked about ponds climate change. Dr James Hartwell, from the Institute of Integrative Biology discussed Dr Raj Whitlock’s grassland climate change experiment with Peter Gibbs from the BBC.

Visitors were able to find out more about rare and unusual plants, attend demonstrations on bee-keeping, looking after chickens, creative floristry, and sample a variety of culinary delights at the specialist food fair. Special guest, Claire Lara, Masterchef champion 2010, gave a cookery demonstration using fresh ingredients from the garden.

Kevin Reid, Director of Ness Gardens said: “We were delighted to welcome the team from Gardeners Question Time, and to have opportunity to showcase Ness Gardens in all its glory. We have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback we received on the day and in postings on Trip Advisor. We hope all those who enjoyed the event will come and visit us again soon.”

The recordings will be broadcast on 14 and 21 September.

University staff and students receive free entry to Ness Gardens. For more information see

James Hartwell Ness Gardens

David, James, Peter Gibbs and Keith

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