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PRESS RELEASE: BBC Radio 4 Gardeners' Question Time Summer Party Saturday 8th September

The sun shone, the crowds arrived - 2,000 in total - and for the first time ever in the North West, a great Summer Garden Party took place at Ness Gardens in South Wirral on Saturday. It was the biggest audience attended
event that BBC Radio 4 have put on so far this year - anywhere in the UK.

BBC Radio 4 gardening experts including Eric Robson, Peter Gibbs, Bob Flowerdew, Pippa Greenwood, Bunny Guinness, Matthew Wilson, Matthew Biggs, Anne Swithinbank, Paul Peacock, Christine Walkden and latest recruit Alison Pringle, took up residence in the Gardens for just one day, offering wise gardening advice on all sorts of subjects. Bunny was asked in one of the more intimate drop in sessions about soil retention and how best to bolster steep hill sides with planting. Bob Flowerdew gave forth about how to perfect your composting techniques to an enraptured audience. The resulting Radio 4 show recordings - a Ness Gardens show and the Summer Garden Party show will be broadcast during the next two weekends in September (14th /16th and 21st /23rd).

Kevin Reid, Director of Ness Gardens commented "The 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 have been overwhelmed by the amount of very positive comments given to staff and posted online via Facebook, Twitter and Tripadvisor and are already looking into the possibility of a garden festival style event for 2013!"

Some of the Ness Gardens team gave knowledgeable talks and demonstrations on a multitude of gardening topics such as container gardening and propagation techniques and a range of tours were conducted by a group of Ness volunteer guides to complement the day's programme of events.

BBC Masterchef 2010 winner Claire Lara, also head chef at The RiverHill in Oxton, Wirral gave the audience a taste of her culinary expertise and said of the event: "It was a pleasure to be at Ness on Saturday and was such an interesting day, especially meeting the gardeners and seeing the quality of their produce. I was amazed at how many people in the audience grow their own fruit and veg too." Local ice cream retailer - Nicholls - created special flavours just for us using ingredients such as white currants and lavender picked fresh from the Gardens which sold out very quickly!

Pippa Probert of Outer Spaces who designed this year's Silver Gilt winner at RHS Tatton Show 'A Taste of Ness', to celebrate the Friends of Ness Gardens' 50th anniversary, showed visitors round its gorgeous larger sister garden 'Making Waves' based at the Gardens.

Other activities included bee-keeping tips, looking after chickens, creative floristry from Reaseheath College, learning about the local wildlife from Cheshire Wildlife Trust and having a go at botanical art. Anyone interested in horticultural, botanical art, floristry and other related courses at Ness Gardens starting in September can go to our website at or call 0845 030 4063 (local rate charges apply) for details.

We promised something for everyone and we delivered with a little help from the BBC and Radio 4!

11 September 2012