Radio gardeners have a blooming good time

The Gardeners Question Time team scrutinise Melrose in Bloom roses during a break in the radio show being recorded in the Corn Exchane on monday evening. From left, Vivien Chisolm, Melrose in Bloom treasurer, Pippa Greenwood, Eric Robson, Bunny Guiness and Chris Beardshaw.
The Gardeners Question Time team scrutinise Melrose in Bloom roses during a break in the radio show being recorded in the Corn Exchane on monday evening. From left, Vivien Chisolm, Melrose in Bloom treasurer, Pippa Greenwood, Eric Robson, Bunny Guiness and Chris Beardshaw.

MELROSE was the venue for the taping for not one but two editions of the venerable and popular radio show, BBC4’s Gardeners’ Question Time, on Monday, writes Sally Gillespie.

The evening in the town’s Corn Exchange was chaired by broadcaster and television documentary maker, Eric Robson, a former Border Television Lookaround journalist.

And he was joined by panel regulars plant pathologist Pippa Greenwood, landscape architect Bunny Guiness and award-winning gardener Chris Beardshaw.

The town’s Melrose in Bloom group invited the programme to come up and record back in the spring.

Melrose in Bloom secretary Pam Rowlands explained: “We invited them because it’s our 10th anniversary and we wanted to do something a bit special.”

The event was sold out and on the night almost all the 250 capacity seating was filled. Mrs Rowlands continued: “It was really good, it was a super night.

“The highlight was the wit and wisdom of the panel, they were very funny and we had lots of questions, which was my worry, that we wouldn’t have enough.

“There were some very funny ones – a man’s wife pruning too much – and people brought in things.

“People came from all over the Borders and the panellists seemed to thoroughly enjoy it.”

Earlier, the BBC conducted interviews at Abbotsford House and at the National Trust for Scotland’s Priorwood Garden in Melrose.

The corporation recorded two episodes of the programme – the first airing next Thursday (November 11) and the second on December 9 – while the Priorwood piece will go out in a different programme on November 16.

The very first Gardeners´ Question Time – then called How Does your Garden Grow? – was aired in April 1947, but the programme wasn’t broadcast nationally until 1957.

The series has answered more than 30,000 questions – which were shown in advance to the experts until 1994. Panel members have been guests of Leyhill Open Prison, the Palace of Westminster and a nudist club in Wales, as well as gardening clubs and other groups.