Tuesday, 06 August 2013 10:50

Gardeners' Question Time

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Yesterday I attended a recording of Gardener’s Question Time held in the Kensington Roof Gardens. It is an amazing location and I haven’t been for about a gazillion years – shame on me - and it’s almost just round the corner.  I think the last time I was there was for someone’s 21st birthday party and in those days my focus wasn’t gardens or plants(!) so I failed to appreciate quite how wonderful they are.

The gardens are celebrating their 75th year this year. Mature trees, shrubs and flowers galore thrive in just 1.5 metres of soil high above the streets of London. Water abounds, four flamingos call it their home and yesterday it was full of garden enthusiasts from London and the Home Counties for the recording.

There must have been about 250 of us and amazingly, Debbie Scott-Anderson, my garden blogging friend (who had been allocated two tickets and kindly invited me) and I, were both selected to come up front to ask our questions. There were at least ten questioners and, as an avid GQT listener, I know they will cull about half of us so we’ll hear on 30th August whether one or both of us make the cut.

But, whatever, it was a fantastic event. The questions were varied and the panel of Anne Swithinbank, Bunny Guinness and Matthew Wilson was great. They were relaxed and fun and Matthew especially created a lot of laughs with his down-to-earth, slightly irreverent answers. He also gardens on London clay and is as useless as I am with house plants so I suppose I empathised most with him.

As ever, it was also really interesting. Even though I was a little nervous about being a questioner, I still became absorbed in the questions and their answers, at least as much as (or possibly even more than) I do when I hear it on the radio. However, when I listen on radio I find I am normally answering the questions myself out loud, commenting on others’ suggestions and seeing if the panellists agree with me. This time I had to shut up and could only nod, shake my head and laugh as appropriate. Quite an unusual “holding of tongue” was done - my grandmother would have been proud of me. But, as an old hand at radio and now video, I know how difficult the edits are when someone speaks out of turn. This obviously didn’t faze some of the questioners who chatted on about their subject willy-nilly.

And one major question I have always had about GQT was answered. We were told and I believe now that the panellists don’t have a preview of the questions – only the Chairman and the director/producer see the questions in advance and decide which will be asked. This makes the panellists’ responses even more impressive.

So from now, I shall listen with an even greater respect ………. but I don’t think it’ll stop me trying to answer them first out loud in the freedom of my car or at my computer!

Videos and photos of the roof gardens can be seen here.

Read 33533 times Last modified on Wednesday, 01 October 2014 09:20

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