Mount Stewart to host Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time party

Mount Stewart to host Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time party

5 June 2019

MOUNT Stewart is hosting BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time’s summer garden party on the shores of Strangford Lough on Saturday.

The event is an opportunity for fans of the show, garden enthusiasts and families to enjoy a fantastic line-up of events and activities throughout the day, all set against the beautiful back- of Mount Stewart’s world-class gardens.

The summer garden party is Radio 4’s biggest annual event and includes live recordings of the BBC’s flagship gardening radio programme at 11am and 1pm (ticket holders only). 

In addition, visitors will get the chance to meet the programme’s panellists, put their questions to them in person, and participate in demonstrations and horticultural happenings across the gardens. The presenters in attendance include James Wong, Bob Flowerdew, Bunny Guinness, Anne Swithinbank, Pippa Greenwood, and RHS Wisley Curator Matthew Pottage.

Outside of the main marquee there will be a wide range of free activities and garden themed programming that can be enjoyed by all visitors to Mount Stewart.

Over 14 plant specialists will be participating in a speciality plant fare on the croquet lawn of this historic house. 

David Maxwell, from BBC Radio Ulster’s Gardeners’ Corner, will be there on the day, along with gardeners from the National Trust to answer gardening questions, while Ballyblack beekeepers will be demonstrating the art of bee keeping and providing advice on how to become a bee-keeper.

Matthew Biggs, gardener, plantsman, writer, television presenter and Gardeners’ Question Time panellist, will be adding some drama to the day with his one-man show in which he presents himself as Ernest Wilson, one of the great plant hunters of the past.

Mount Stewart head gardener, Neil Porteous, will share his experiences of managing the world-class garden and reveal how he has continued to expand the plant collections in a way that is sympathetic to the original planting, while renowned gardener, Anne Fitzsimons, will be presenting two talks in the Sunken Garden ‘Pots of Distinction’ and ‘My Friends, the Plants’.

Nature explorers of all ages can enjoy seal spotting from the ‘Look Out’ and follow the trail to the ‘Guide in the Hide’ to learn about the National Trust’s work to restore the red squirrel population at Mount Stewart.

Traditional music duo the McGinn Sisters will be keeping the atmosphere lively and there will be a selection of tasty food stalls including a barbecue.

Speaking ahead of the summer garden party event, Mount Stewart’s head gardener said the National Trust property is delighted to welcome back the Gardeners’ Question Time panellists for the “exciting event”.

In addition to the two live recordings of the show, there will also be a great line-up of walks, talks and activities for all ages to enjoy throughout the day.

Programme chair Kathy Clugston said she had only been presenting GQT for a short time and was excited about her inaugural garden party. 

She added: “It’s home turf for me and I know the local crowd will give us a great welcome. I popped in to see the gardens at Mount Stewart this week and they’re already looking remarkable – the perfect setting for our annual jamboree.”

Normal admission charges apply (members free) with tickets for the two live recordings of Gardeners’ Question Time costing £11.50 for adults and £5.75 for children with the prices including admission. They are available through the Mount Stewart website: