Gardeners Question Time & RHS Join Forces to Help UK Gardeners Protect their Plots

Last updated: 05-06-2018

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Gardeners Question Time & RHS Join Forces to Help UK Gardeners Protect their Plots

• RHS working with Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time to highlight the importance of plant health • Interactive Show Feature to educate visitors on how to protect their gardens from the increased threat of pests and diseases

An illustration of the ‘RHS & BBC GQT Bloomin’ Healthy Garden’

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time (GQT) join forces to highlight the importance of plant health at this year’s RHS Chatsworth Flower Show (6-10 June) with an interactive feature to equip the UK’s gardeners with the knowledge and expertise needed to plan and maintain a healthy garden.

The RHS and GQT report a recent increase in enquiries about plant health, illustrating a growing concern for serious threats to UK gardens with almost 1,000 pests and diseases listed on the UK’s Plant Health Register.*

Award winning designer Stephen Hall has worked with RHS Plant Health Scientists and the GQT team to create the ‘RHS & GQT Bloomin’ Healthy Garden’ packed with inspiration and advice on plant health for visitors to take home and put into practice in their own gardens.

Designer Stephen Hall said: ’I was delighted when approached by the RHS to design this feature as it is becoming increasingly important that anyone with a garden is aware of the simple things they can do to help keep them healthy and mitigate the spread of harmful pests and diseases.’

‘I have created a ‘typical’ English Country Garden that will take visitors on a journey of discovery, and help them learn about recent arrivals, new threats to plant health, take home tips for clean working and discover some of the most common pests and diseases and how to deal with them.’

The reasons gardeners should be concerned about plant health can be found at the heart of the garden with informative films and interactive displays and demonstrations highlighting the recent arrival of new diseases and pests from abroad such as the lily beetle, box tree moth and more recently agapanthus gall midge along with imminent threats such as the high profile Xylella fastidiosa. Display boxes will enable visitors to get up close to some of the UK’s most common pests and affected plant specimens and learn how to safely manage them and what to look out for.

A potting shed and plant quarantine area is included to highlight the importance of careful plant sourcing, inspection and continued monitoring for potential pests and diseases. A cleaning station and potting bench will remind gardeners that clean gardening tools, footwear and other equipment are important to prevent pests and diseases from being moved in soil and plant debris.

Stephen adds: ‘The importance of crop rotation and cultivar selection for the reduction of pest and diseases is explored in the productive area of the garden. Visitors will pick up simple tips like the use of insect-proof netting to reduce problems such as carrot root fly, a greenhouse prompts discussion of clean irrigation and compost bins demonstrate the do’s and don’ts of safe composting.’

The final section of the garden demonstrates best practice for pest and disease management through a balanced and healthy ecosystem, resilient planting and features to encourage natural predators.

Gardeners’ Question Time’s Plant Pathologist Pippa Greenwood said; ‘We are very excited to be working with the RHS at this year’s RHS Chatsworth Flower Show and hope the garden will help reiterate the importance of plant health management no matter what size garden you have. We give out advice on plant health every week on GQT, and this is a great opportunity to foreground some of the most important conversations we need to all be having in this area.'

Listening posts narrated by the GQT team will be present throughout the garden to complement the design and inspire visitors with key messages and top tips to apply in their own gardens. Highlights and ideas from the garden will also be broadcast on GQT on Friday 8th June (repeated Sunday 10th June) 2018.

Gerard Clover, Head of Plant Health at the Royal Horticultural Society, said: ‘With the ever increasing risk from imported pests and diseases to UK horticulture, we could all do with a little help in understanding the role we can play in keeping our gardens healthy and pest and disease free.

The ‘RHS and BBC GQT Bloomin’ Healthy Garden’ at RHS Chatsworth Flower Show gives us a great platform to share our expertise, demonstrate and advise visitors on the different things they can do to maintain a healthy garden for many years to come.’

Tickets to RHS Chatsworth Flower Show can be bought at

 * The UK’s Plant Health Register is a tool for government, industry and stakeholders to prioritise action against pests and diseases which threaten our crops, trees, gardens and countryside. Full list can be found here:

For more information, please contact Hattie Sherwood in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3044 and

For more information on BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time, please contact Sophie West in the BBC Press Office at

Images of the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show are available to download at Please email the RHS Press Office at for instructions on how to create an account.

To apply for media accreditation to the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, please visit

To book tickets 0844 995 9664* or * Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.

Ticket prices range from £18.50 to £33.50. Tickets are on sale now.

About the RHS The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. Our Vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.

We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity. At our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital roles that plants undertake.

The RHS is committed to bring the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £13 billion industry employing more than 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and help us secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call 020 3176 5820, or visit

Originally titled How Does Your Garden Grow?, the first edition of Gardeners’ Question Time was broadcast in 1947 and took questions from members of the Smallshaw Allotments Association. Since then GQT has become an institution, regularly attracting over 1.5 million listeners a week.

Over the years the programme has taken more than 30,000 questions. The team have been guests of gardening clubs and other groups up and down the UK, including Leyhill Open Prison, the Palace of Westminster and even a nudist group.

For the first 47 years the panel were shown the questions in advance, but that tradition was dropped in 1994. Since then, their encyclopaedic answers have been completely spontaneous and reveal their huge experience and depth of gardening knowledge.

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