We’re excited to share that a very special edition of BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time aired on Friday 23rd July at 3pm, with the episode recorded live in Horatio’s Garden London & South East last week!
To catch up on BBC Sounds, please click here
Alternatively, please tune in to BBC Radio 4 on Sunday 25th July at 2pm to listen to the repeated programme.
To find out more about Horatio’s Garden London & South East, please click here
As regular listeners will know, Head Gardener Ashley Edwards has been sporadically appearing as one of the feature presenters for the programme, but this occasion marked his first time being on the panel and offered him the perfect opportunity to take listeners through Tom Stuart-Smith’s thoughtful design for the garden.
Dauntingly, Ashley appeared alongside three seasoned Gardeners’ Question Time panelists, all of whom are huge stars in the horticultural world and in the realms beyond. Together Matthew Biggs, Christine Walkden and designer of Horatio’s Garden Midlands, Bunny Guinness, all joined us in the garden, as did brilliant host Peter Gibbs and enthusiastic producer Dan Cocker.
With volunteers and patients still able to use the garden with the recording in progress, it was wonderful for everyone to watch the team create the episode and to see them having fun whilst working together to answer as many of the public’s burning gardening questions as possible. There are certainly a few intriguing ones featuring in this week’s episode, but we’ll leave you to listen to discover those for yourself!
In between getting to grips with the nation’s queries, Ashley was generously given the time to introduce listeners to the charity and its mission, whilst he also gave people an insight into the two sides of the garden and how the planting was carefully chosen to lend a sociable aspect to one and a calmer aspect to the other.
Additionally, he also shared more about the immensely positive impact the haven has had on countless people’s lives since Horatio’s Garden opened last August, as well as emphasising the importance of accessible gardening.
This was something attested to in the episode by Steven too, a patient who has recently spent a number of weeks in the London Spinal Cord Injury Centre (LSCIC). He shared more about the physical and mental benefits he’s felt since he became a daily visitor to the garden, providing listeners with a gently informative insight into just how vital the oasis has been for him and indeed for his fellow patients.
The Gardeners’ Question Time team all agreed that Steven gave a brilliant interview, whilst they similarly sang Ashley’s praises for sailing through the recording so professionally. Everyone also thanked the garden team and volunteers profusely for their kindness, whilst they echoed each other when sharing their reflections on the day.
Having recently visited Horatio’s Garden Midlands, Bunny mentioned how fantastic it was to see the garden she designed flourishing and that it was a pleasure to discover another of the charity’s projects thriving in London. She was keen to hear more about Tom’s approach to the garden and Ashley’s plans for its future, whilst she also asked a great deal about Sarah Price’s inspirations for Horatio’s Garden Wales and how the project was progressing. She eagerly investigated the charity’s intentions for Horatio’s Garden Northern Ireland too, which we were only too happy to tell her more about.
Meanwhile, Matthew Biggs was sure to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone for making the occasion such a happy event. He appreciated how welcoming everyone was, made a point of mentioning the “top notch” hospitality and that it was humbling and inspiring to see how horticulture is changing people’s lives in a fantastic garden full of lovely plants and people. Indeed, he was so impressed with one of the cakes he tried that he asked after the recipe, saying he’d be sharing it with fellow panelist Christine, who was rather fond of it too!
Aside from echoing Matthew’s sentiments regarding the irresistible refreshments, Christine also shared that it was fabulous to see all that goes on in the garden, to witness a beautiful place being created and most importantly to be able to tangibly feel the care shown to everyone entering the garden. Feeling warmly welcomed too, she thanked the whole team for her heavenly visit, said how nice it was to spend time with such passionate people, whilst also professing her gratitude for the way in which the team instill hope into people’s lives through greenery.
With a final flattering word, host Peter Gibbs essentially summed up the team’s feelings; that Horatio’s Garden is “the perfect example of a therapeutic garden and the power of plants”.
We’re enormously grateful to the Gardeners’ Question Time team for all their kind words and for featuring us in this and many other episodes. We hope you enjoyed listening to the show as much as we enjoyed recording it and fingers crossed it won’t be long before we see some familiar faces once again return to Horatio’s Garden.