Main content

70th Anniversary Garden Party at Ness Botanic Gardens: Part Two

Peter Gibbs presents the second of two programmes from the GQT 70th birthday party at Ness Botanic Gardens. With Bunny Guinness, James Wong, Pippa Greenwood and Bob Flowerdew.

Peter Gibbs presents the second of two programmes from the GQT 70th birthday party at Ness Botanic Gardens. Bunny Guinness, James Wong, Pippa Greenwood and Bob Flowerdew answer the questions from the audience.

Produced by Hannah Newton
Assistant Producer: Laurence Bassett

A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4.

Available now

43 minutes

Fact Sheet

Q – What’s the best way to prune a blackcurrant plant?


Bunny – When I pick the fruit I also prune that particular branch. Ebony (Ribes nigrum) is my favourite variety.


Q – Why are my cauliflowers pink?


Pippa – It could be serious fluctuations in temperature, a deficiency in the soil or possibly Boron.


Bob – Some varieties are naturally pink or red.


James – If the purple colour stains the water when it’s cooked, it will be an anthocyanin causing the colour. It is a chemical which plants in the Brassicaceae family produce, usually as a result of heat stress or lack of water. There’s a variety called ‘Graffiti’ which has been bred specifically for its purple colouration.


Q – How do I increase the size of my rhubarb?


Bob – Rhubarb needs rich soil and suffers from dry conditions. If it has come from another plant and has a mostly old, dead crown that has been transplanted, it doesn’t do well. You could remove the best parts and re-plant them in a site with a good manure covering.


James – They grow in North East Asia on riverbanks and so they need lots of water and cool temperatures. High nitrogen soil is also important for tender stems.


Pippa – The ‘Valentine’ variety is great.


Bunny – ‘Poulton’s Pride’ variety is one you can pick for longer than the normal season.


Q – If you could hybridise two plants what would they be?


James – I love Physalis alkekengi (Chinese Lantern), it has a very beautiful bright red colour. There’s also Physalis peruviana (Cape Gooseberry, Inca berry, Golden berry) which has worse branches but delicious pineapple-tasting berries.


Q – How can I convince my mum to grow a kitchen garden?


Bob – Garlic is so expensive to buy that I definitely recommend growing that.


James – Japanese Quince (Chaenomeles) is normally sold as ornamental but in Japan it’s used for both ornamental and culinary uses. It is a very common flavor in their cuisine. Amelanchier, which is known for its flowers, is also known as the ‘Juneberry’ Tree. Their fruit is a very delicious version of a blueberry. Also Amaranthus, artichokes, ornamental kale and garlic chives.

Bunny – I would increase your growing space by using the wall to create a hanging herb garden. Next to my kitchen I grow peppers, basil, turmeric on all of the windowsills.






GQT Summer Garden Party

GQT Summer Garden Party

Link to tickets and info

Six of GQT’s naughtiest gardening innuendos

Six of GQT’s naughtiest gardening innuendos

When Gardeners' Question Time got mucky.