Group visits to ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Ask the experts: Frances Tophill from BBC Gardeners’ World

Frances Tophill from BBC Gardeners’ World

Frances Tophill from BBC Gardeners’ World

GTO Magazine spoke to gardening expert Frances Tophill.

Taking place from 14th to 17th June, BBC Gardeners’ World Live provides masses of inspiration with Show Gardens, a Floral Marquee, Rose Festival, Floristry demo stage and great shopping from hundreds of exhibitors of plants, tools and the latest gardening kit.

The presenters from BBC Two’s Gardeners’ World will be on stage sharing top gardening tips and advice and seats in the show theatre can be booked for your group, where you can see the likes of Monty Don, Carol Klein, Alan Titchmarsh and Frances Tophill. Discounted group tickets can be reserved with a no obligation reservation period running until May.

GTO Magazine spoke to gardening expert Frances Tophill, who joined the Gardeners’ World team two years ago, to find out more about her background, but groups will be able to learn more about her career – which began at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh – and pick up a host of her top tips at the show.

How different is it to appear on stage compared to television?

‘I have to confess I find giving talks quite nerve wracking. However, there’s one massive pro compared to TV, and that’s that you only have to do it once.’

What’s your favourite thing about being on the TV Show?

‘It’s just lovely being able to travel around the country and meet some lovely people. You can learn so much and see so many interesting, different plant combinations and ideas.’

BBC Gardeners’ World Live is popular with school groups – did you go to garden or flower shows as a child?

‘The simple answer is no. We never did any gardening at school, either primary or secondary. It is something that’s become popular in the last decade or so, thanks to the work of loads of teachers, parents and organisations, which is fantastic. Kids today are so lucky to have a chance to try it – and go to the shows!’

Thinking of any group trips that you may have been on, what stands out and why?

‘I always liked going on trips to old castles. Especially the dungeons. Dover and Deal castle were common trips as they were so local to my childhood home. History was one of my favourite subjects – we did a great trip to Berlin when I was 15 or so, and Art was also a favourite so trips to London to the V&A, Tate or National Portrait Gallery stand out in my memory too.’