Plant worries in Thetford answered by Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time panel

Hundreds of horticulturists gathered to hear solutions to their plant problems when Gardeners' Question Time arrived in Thetford this week.

Eric Robson and his panel of experts tackled questions put to them by the town's gardening enthusiasts which ranged from those of a technical nature to allotments to queries about old wives' tales and featured alongside humorous banter and light-hearted discussions.

The chairman of the Thetford Garden and Allotment Club, Rachel Woods, said 24 questions, which will be split between two episodes of the popular Radio 4 show later this month, had been selected by the producer from those submitted by the audience. The team were not shown them in advance.

'I think the audience was happy because afterwards the panel didn't rush away and stayed on the stage for people to talk to them,' she said. 'The questions were very varied.

'One chap brought along a leaf from a tree, for example, which suddenly looked like it was dying and one of them joked 'well you've got a dead tree then, haven't you?', but they scrapped that and thought it might have been a grafting fault.

'Another had a fern leaf so we got to talk about how ferns reproduce and she was told it was pregnant and was going to have babies. It was light-hearted, but very balanced. It was brilliant in many ways because there were more than 200 people there.'

The show, which features a panel of horticultural experts answering gardening questions from a live audience and is recorded in a different location each week, arrived in the town's Carnegie Room on Monday at the request of Mrs Woods who spent between two and three years sending emails and 'being a pest'.

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'The producer actually said that was quite quick because there are 6,000 people on the list,' she added. 'You had to talk about your gardening club and whether you've got the facilities and can organise teas and coffees and things like that, so, without blowing my own trumpet, I think it was my submission which brought it to the top of the pile.

'We last had it in Thetford 30 years ago and I think it's really good to have well-known professional gardeners in the town and if it encourages a few more gardeners, that's great. People didn't just come from Thetford, they came from all around.

'Gardeners' Question Time is a nice programme – if you're into gardening it's a useful programme and not just entertainment.'

The recording will be broadcast in two shows, which will also include some history of Thetford and the British Trust for Ornithology, to be first aired on Radio 4 on Fridays, August 10 and 31 at 3pm.

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