Mount Stewart is delighted to be hosting BBC Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time’s (GQT) Summer Garden Party on the shores of Strangford Lough on Saturday, June 8, 2019.
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-drop of Mount Stewart’s world-class gardens.
The GQT Summer Garden Party is Radio 4’s biggest annual event – including live recordings of the BBC's flagship gardening radio programme at 11am and 1pm (ticket holders only).
Visitors will get the chance to meet the GQT panellists, put their questions to them in person, and participate in demonstrations and horticultural happenings across the gardens. GQT 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.
Popular presenter David Maxwell from BBC Radio Ulster’s Gardeners Corner will be there on the day, along with gardeners from the National Trust to answer your gardening questions; 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 GQT 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.
Head gardener at Mount Stewart Neil Porteous will share his experiences of managing this world-class garden and reveal how he has continued to expand the plant collections in a way that is sympathetic to the original planting.
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 GQT Summer Garden Party, Neil Porteous, head gardener at Mount Stewart said: “We’re delighted to welcome the panellists of Gardeners Question Time back to Mount Stewart for this exciting event. In addition to the two live recordings of the show we have programmed a great line-up of walks, talks and activities for all ages to enjoy throughout the day. The gardens at Mount Stewart look glorious at this time of year and we can’t wait to showcase them to visitors on the day.”
New chair of the programme, Kathy Clugston, said: “I’ve only been presenting GQT for a short time, so I’m particularly excited about my inaugural Garden Party. 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 GQT jamboree.”
Normal admission charges apply (members free).
Tickets for the two live recordings of Gardeners’ Question Time cost adult £11.50 and child £5.75 (price includes admission) and are available through the Mount Stewart website: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mount-stewart.