Iconic British gardeners meet Met Office scientists

Devon’s gardeners have had some of their horticultural problems answered thanks to a visit from the iconic BBC Radio 4 Gardeners Question Time team to the Met Office.

The show, in front of a 200 strong audience, was lead by Met Office and BBC forecaster, and show regular, Peter Gibbs with Bunny Guinness, Anne Swithenbank and Pippa Greenwood making up the panel of experts.

While at the Met Office Headquarters in Exeter the panellists looked at the work undertaken on the almost 11 hectare site aimed at promoting bio-diversity and reducing the impacts of the building on the surrounding fauna and flora.  The panel heard about the success of the wildflower meadow and how outlawing the use of fertiliser has reduced pollution in the ponds, leading to an increase in amphibians and the reintroduction of the very rare Maiden pink (Dianthus deltoides). Devon Wildlife Trust has helped with the work and the Met Office has been awarded a coveted Biodiversity Benchmark Award.

The panel also talked to some of the many world leading scientists who work for the Met Office in Exeter and heard how some of their research is leading to changes in the way we think about plants and how we garden.  They learnt how the Met Office has developed a mobile weather service that not only lets you check the weather forecast for where you are via your mobile phone but also allows you to upload and share your local weather conditions.  Bunny Guinness was so impressed she vowed she would be using it in future. The panellist also heard how increased atmospheric carbon dioxide could result in increased planet growth and why global warming has not led to an end to cold winters.

The episode will be aired in the Christmas special on BBC Radio 4 on Friday 27th December at 3pm, with a repeat on Sunday 29th at 2pm December.

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