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20 May 2006 

From horticultural shows and flower festivals to small private gardens, their attraction is bigger than ever and visitors are travelling even greater distances to see them not just in this country but around the world.  Sandi Toksvig looks at the lure of well tended hardy perennials and how for some people gardens represent paradise on earth.

Sandi is joined by garden enthusiasts Katherine Lambert, and Wesley Kerr who share their appreciation of the hard work that has gone into creating these earthly delights.

The word paradise comes from a Persian word for hunting enclosure where the king would fire arrows into a pen full of boar, which would then be butchered and given to everyone, hence the idea of abundance. This notion was later applied to a place that was perfect with all one could possibly want.

Kevin Rushby, author of Paradise, a History of the idea that rules the world, talks about his travel to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Padua, and Lambeth in search of the meaning of paradise.

Presented by Sandi Toksvig

This week's guests:

Katherine Lambert is co-editor with Peter King of the Good Gardens Guide, 1400 best gardens parks and green spaces in the UK and Europe.  Katherine is also a journalist and writes on visiting gardens for the Times Telegraph and Independent.

The Good Gardens Guide 2006
Edited by Peter King and Katherine Lambert
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Publishers
ISBN: 0711225672

Wesley Kerr is a well-known face and voice of BBC TV and Radio.  Since the 1980s he has been Culture, Education, Health, New York/Washington Correspondent and for most of the Nineties Royal Correspondent. Wesley has also made films for the Holiday programme.  In 2004 he received the Royal Horticultural Society General Certificate in Horticulture.  Over the last six years he has reported for the BBC from the Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Show.

Getty Museum Gardens in Los Angeles 
Kevin Rushby, studied psychology and then spent several years in the Sudan, Yemen, Malasia, and Thailand as a teacher then a journalist.  Kevin is the author of several travel books: Eating the Flowers of Paradise: A Journey through the Drug Fields of Ethiopia and Yemen; Chasing the Mountain of Light: Across India on the Trail of the Koh-I-Noor Diamond; Hunting Pirate Heaven: In Search of the Lost Pirate Utopias of the Indian Ocean and Children of Kali ; the truth behind the IndianThugee cult.

Paradise , a History of the idea that rules the world.
Publisher: Constable and Robinson
ISBN: 1845290011 

In response to last week's programme: Mark Fremantle emailed to say: "It was very interesting to hear about the camels on your show today and the intrepid exploits of some real adventurers! Did you know that there are some in the UK which you can hire!" 

Oasis tents

Severnwye Llama Trekking

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Sandi ToksvigSandi Toksvig:
The daughter of a foreign correspondent, Sandi has been travelling all her life more info

John McCarthy John McCarthy is a widely travelled journalist and presenter with a particular interest in the Middle East.
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