Myerscough College horticulture students met with some of the biggest names in the industry when BBC Radio 4’s programme Gardeners’ Question Time came to the college for a recording of the world famous show.
The panel of green fingered experts for the show included college fellow and esteemed plants woman, Christine Walkden; highly respected horticulturist, Chris Beardshaw; and plant pathologist and gardening expert, Pippa Greenwood.
Matthew Pottage, manager of the RHS Garden Wisley; and Jamie Butterworth, a BBC Young Gardener of The Year finalist, were also in attendance.
The programme, recorded on Monday of last week, will look at the current state of the horticulture industry and the gardeners of tomorrow, amid figures which suggests there could be thousands of unfilled vacancies in the industry in the years ahead.
To this end, the panel were shown around campus and interviewed students across horticulture, arboriculture and sports turf on why they wanted to go into their chosen careers and to give a reassurance that the industry is in safe hands with the next generation.
The main question and answer session, hosted by Eric Robson, was later recorded in the college’s lecture theatre in front of an audience including students, staff members, representatives of local gardening organisations and enthusiasts.
A wide range of topics, from growing plants in polytunnels, to bonzai trees and how to avoid blackspot on rose petals, were discussed.
The panellists were unaware of what questions they were to be asked until they were posed by audience members, leading to the usual lively discussion.
Christine Walkden, who studied for a National Diploma in Horticulture with Myerscough under the college’s former name of the Lancashire College of Agriculture, said: “It’s great to come back to where it all started for me again.
“The campus has changed so much since my time here in the 1970s.‘’
“A huge thank you and all the staff and students that made us so welcome at the college and who enabled us to get some great material.
“The hospitality was wonderful and myself and the other panellists all really enjoyed the visit.’’
Ann Turner, principal and chief executive of Myerscough College, said: ‘’We were delighted to welcome the ‘Gardeners’ Question Time’ team and thoroughly enjoyed the show.
“The students will take away an invaluable experience of the time they spent with our guests. We sincerely thank the Radio 4 team for visiting us.’’
Figures released late last year revealed the college to be the best in the country offering courses such as horticulture, aboriculture, outdoor and landscaping.
The programme was broadcast last Friday and Sunday and can be heard via iplayer on: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03p mk7h