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Gardeners Question Time returns to Ness Botanic Gardens

Following the outstanding success of last year's event, the BBC has decided to once again stage the annual Gardeners' Question Time Summer Garden Party at Ness Botanic Gardens in south Wirral on Saturday 7th September 2013 from 10am until 6pm.

Last year's party was Radio 4's biggest outdoor audience event and brought 2,000 guests flocking to our Gardens in radiant sunshine and leaving with big smiles on their faces. One of the many happy visitors said: "What a brilliant day it was! So much going on - all the GQT team were brilliant but so also were the Ness staff. And didn't the gardens look good!"

Kevin Reid, Director of Ness Botanic Gardens says: "It's great news that the BBC wish to return and we welcome them wholeheartedly. Last year's GQT event at Ness was a real coup for the North West and we were delighted as were the BBC at the response of garden enthusiasts and the public to attend. We hope that everyone will return to enjoy a fabulous day out and we'll try to make the 2013 event bigger and even better than before!"

The GQT team includes a great line up including Eric Robson, Peter Gibbs, Bob Flowerdew, Pippa Greenwood, Bunny Guinness, Matthew Wilson, Christine Walkden, Matthew Biggs, Anne Swithinbank, Carol Baxter and James Wong. As well as the recorded shows for the programme (broadcast later in September), you can expect gardening demonstrations and personal advice on your plants and gardening dilemmas from those BBC gardening presenters so familiar by voice on the radio.

Howard Shannon, Producer of GQTfor the BBC looks forward to this year's event: "I was very happy with the result last year and producing the garden party with Ness Botanic Gardens could not have gone any better. The team assembled did an outstanding job, not only taking on board our initial back-of-a-cigarette-packet idea but then seeing them through to eventual realisation."

On the day you will also be able to take tours on topical aspects of the Gardens and find out more green-fingered advice from the Ness team as well as enjoy a specialist plant hunters' fair. Other treats include cookery demonstrations by Claire Lara, BBC Masterchef 2010 winner and head chef at The RiverHill in Oxton, who returns for a second year and also a few surprises to be announced soon.

Tickets are priced at £8.50 each (no concessions) and are available from early June via the Ness Botanic Gardens website ( so keep watching to find out the latest news on content for this year's event and to make sure you secure your tickets early!


Notes to editors

For more information or images please contact Jen Lemon on 0845 0304063 Ext 242 or email

About Gardeners´ Question Time: The very first Gardeners´ Question Time took a panel of expert gardeners along to answer questions from members of the Smallshaw Allotments Association, it was broadcast by the BBC on 9th April 1947. Strictly speaking it wasn't called Gardeners´ Question Time at the time but How Does your Garden Grow?, however, it wasn't long till the name was changed - at least not long in the context of its close on 60 years of history. Over the years it has answered well over 30,000 questions. The panel members have been guests of a diversity of gardening clubs and other groups, including Leyhill Open Prison, the Palace of Westminster and a nudist club in Wales.

About Ness Gardens: The Gardens were created in 1898 by Arthur Kilpin Bulley, a wealthy cotton broker from Liverpool. Passionate about plants, he funded various plant hunting expeditions to the Far East for hunters such as George Forrest whose huge Pieris formosa 'Forrestii' from China, can still be seen today. Bulley created a garden of the unusual and the rare and shared it freely with his village neighbours. He also established the renowned Bees Seeds company. The Gardens were donated to the University of Liverpool in 1948 by Bulley's daughter. They now attract over 60,000 visitors a year; there are in excess of 7,000 Friends of Ness Gardens who have provided financial support for over fifty years and more than 200 volunteers work across the Gardens.

Memebership of the Friends of Ness is open to anyone.  For more information email or visit Friends of Ness Gardens