BBC Gardeners’ World in the Bath WI garden

It has been a whirlwind week for the Bath WI, most particularly for Head Garden Guru Kitty! First our garden party featured in WI Life magazine with a beautiful double page spread…

WI Life

…and then we were contacted by the BBC via National Federation of Women’s Institutes about filming our garden for Gardeners’ World as part of their feature on the WI Centenary!! (showing on BBC2 on Friday 11th at 8.30pm). Our amazing Kitty grasped the whirlwind and not only managed the arrangements but turned out to be a tv natural and a total star! It was a long day for Kitty and gurus Elaine, Jean, Gaye and Jo (and little Thea, of course) as the crew got to the Bath WI garden in the Bath Botanical Gardens soon after 8 am and didn’t finish until after 7pm. Thank you so much to Gaye for her wonderful photographic record of the day…Sue took photos in the afternoon and evening too, so apologies if there is photographic overload (it was all so exciting we didn’t want to miss a moment!).

Kitty – glamorous garden designer and Head Garden Guru

It is fascinating watching a film crew work; covering every angle and repeating shots a lot of times to get it just right. They could not have made us feel more relaxed and lovely Rachel de Thame was particularly good at explaining what was happening throughout the day.

Director Andy Vernon (in the blue jumper) turned out to be an expert on dahlias and has promised to come and talk to us next year…you would not believe the ways you can eat dahlias! Even in cheesecake!! In the meantime he has promised us a recipe for dahlia tea.


It was so nice to see the Botanical Gardens gardeners (affectionately known by us as the Botanicals) at the shoot.They are so helpful to our gurus and the Bath WI and always treat us as though helping us is a pleasure and not a nuisance, although we know we add to their workload! These awesome chaps are an integral part of our WI garden as well as of the Bath Botanical Gardens.

The Botanicals helped the crew move their gear, had their photo taken with Rachel de Thame, and Tom and Rachel exchanged notes on trees and gardening. One of the WI partners, Mark, was dragged in to the picture too…he doesn’t look like he minded too much.

The filming took a very long time, but we all loved watching the goings on…and there was always little Thea to entertain us!

The filming took each section in turn, starting with Kitty and Rachel talking about the garden.

Then moving on to Elaine our Dahlia Diva…

…and Jean the Chard Charmer (also specialising in nasturtium-nurturing and saffron crocus bulb planting).

Then on to the garden admirers both cute and glamorous. First the cute; Jo and Thea…

…and then the glamorous; Victoria (Kitty’s daughter…you can see where the glamour comes from!)

Finally it was time to finish things off in the garden with a few garden closeups and Rachel and the gurus packing up and walking off home.

After the garden tidy up and harvesting all those runner beans it was back to Kitty’s kitchen so she could show Rachel how to preserve runner beans:

  • Trim about 1kg of runner beans, cutting them the right length to stand up in your jar(s).
  • Blanch the beans in boiling salted water until just tender.
  • Heat 1 small bottle of cider vinegar and 250g sugar in a pan with pickling spices of your choice until the sugar has dissolved
  • Put a small piece of bruised ginger (bashed with a rolling pin) and a sprig of mint in each jar. Stand the strained beans in the jar and cover with the warm cider and sugar mixture. Seal the jars.
  • Best allowed to mature for a couple of weeks, but lovely even after just 24 hours!

It was a long and tiring day, but so much fun – and we can’t wait to see the finished three minutes on Gardeners World on Friday! Don’t miss it!!

Oh and just for Kitty; a few shots of the photographers…

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