We caught up with Matthew Biggs to chat village shows, plant-based problem solving and chocolate ice cream trees. Trained at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Matthew is an expert gardener, writer and broadcaster, and appears regularly on the beloved BBC Radio 4 programme Gardeners' Question Time. He is an author on RHS Great British Village Show.
Inspiring, enjoyable, all-consuming, fun.
Paxton Pits Nature Reserve in Cambridgeshire when the nightingales are singing.
Plants to eat and enjoy, including a hop, vine and the yet to be discovered chocolate ice cream tree.
Hunte’s Garden in Barbados. It’s in a limestone sink hole, extravagantly planted and full of theatrical leafy lushness and colour. The creator, Anthony Hunte, is a wonderful character who serves the finest rum punch from a teapot, while the voice of Maria Callas drifts over the garden. Bliss.
Whenever someone starts a question with ‘I have this plant with green leaves and white flowers’ but doesn’t bring in a leaf or flower to show. To get those right is always a thrill!
A good Mediterranean salad is always enjoyable because it makes you feel healthy while you are eating it. Add chopped fine herbs and sundried tomatoes to all of the freshly harvested traditional crops from the garden, then dress with lemon-infused olive oil.
The plantsman and plant explorer, Roy Lancaster, who remembers the details of every plant he has seen and has the stories to go with them. Roy has travelled extensively and visited China thirteen times, so there is lots to hear and enjoy.
At the end of the show we always have a question with potential for humour. We were asked ‘What plant would you suggest to represent a politician?’ From somewhere in my head came the answer ‘A Yew, because they tax us.’ (The Latin name for ‘Yew’ is Taxus).
I would love to have more time to spend in the garden.
Don’t overstretch yourself by entering too many classes, and remember to enjoy the day.
Forest gardening. It has been around the fringes for a while but is about to become mainstream. This style replicates the layers of vegetation in a natural woodland, using fruit trees and edible plants to make the land more productive.
Enter a world of tents, tea, and terrifically good jam with RHS Great British Village Show. Written by Thane Prince and Matthew Biggs, and with a foreword by Alan Titchmarsh, this is the only guide to a unique British tradition.