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43 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 05 October 2012

Eric Robson continues the Gardeners' Question Time Northern Tour in North Yorkshire. Matthew Wilson, Chris Beardshaw and Alison Pringle are on the panel.

To mark its 65th anniversary, Eric Robson presents a condensed history of GQT.

Produced by Howard Shannon
A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4.

Questions answered in the programme:
Q. Could the panel recommended any small, pink, white or blue flowering pot plants to be used as table centrepieces at a wedding in early June?
A. Dwarf Rhododendrons, or bedding plants could be used. Streptocarpus could be used for cuttings now to grow in time. Love in a Mist (blue), Thrift (pink) or Dicentra Spectabilis 'Alba' - or 'Bleeding Heart' - (white) could also be used!

Q. What has been done to seed potatoes intended for harvest at Christmas in order to enable them to be harvested at that time?
A. These are very late or very early cropping potatoes, such as First Earlies. Nothing unusual will have been done to them.

Q. I planted a rose over 50 years ago named after R. A. Middleton. Can the panel identify the rose in question?
A. This is a hybrid tea rose. There is a rose called C. H. Middleton, named after horticulturalist Cecil Middleton. However, Cecil's wife Rosa Annie may have had a rose named after her too.

Q. When planting wild flowers, is it best to broadcast seed, or plant in plugs?
A. It depends upon location. In bare ground, you can use broadcast sowing, for plants such as Red Clover, Oxeye Daisies, Alkanets and Viper's Bugloss. In a grass area, plug plants are recommended. However, if an area is too fertile, wildflowers will not do well.

Q. My 6ft tall runner beans are battered by wind, so I have removed the leaves. Now that it is cooler, will the beans suffer without the protection of the wind?
A. Planting something to shelter the beans such as raspberries or Jerusalem artichokes could help provide a permeable shelter. Alternatively, the frame could be reduced in height, which will also help the beans' productivity.

Q. Could the panel suggest a houseplant suitable for an overheated, dark cottage with small windows and a neglectful owner?
A. Aspidistra, Phalaenopsis orchids or Vriesia Splendens tropical Bromeliad are recommended.

Q. What does scarifying the lawn do, and is it useful? Do the panel scarify their lawns.
A. Scarifying removes 'thatch' from the lawn - the build-up of dead grass and moss at the base of the grass - but not strictly necessary. It can also help prevent the formation of tussocks by tillering grasses.

  • Robert Stead

    Robert Stead

    Robert Stead, Head of BBC North Regional Programmes. Taken in March of 1949.

  • Gardeners' Question Time in 1951

    Gardeners' Question Time in 1951

    Left to right: Fred Loads, Robert Stead, Alan Gemmell and Bill Sowerbutts.

  • The GQT team of 1951

    The GQT team of 1951

    The very early days of GQT are captured with this photograph taken in 1951. It shows (left to right) Bill Sowerbutts, Professor Alan Gemmell, Robert Stead (who originated the programme and was in the chair) and Fred Loads in action.



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