A PANEL of gardening experts have helped raise thousands for a new space in Cotswolds at a learning disability service run by a national charity.

The five prominent gardeners held an entertaining and informative question and answer session at Whichford Pottery on September 27, in the event organised by Hft. They successfully solved questions from green-fingered members of the public covering a plethora of gardening dilemmas - ranging from how to grow pak choi to growing trees in clay soil, and dealing with fungus.

The panel was chaired by Stefan Buczacki, prominent horticulturist and author and included Jane Perrone, writer and former gardening editor for The Guardian, Sarah Malleson, head hardener at Hidcote Manor’s National Trust garden, Paul Williams, author and expert on container gardening, garden design and plantsmanship and Pershore College lecturer Duncan Coombs.

Lisa Harrison, divisional fundraising manager, said: “Everyone involved really enjoyed this event. We’re so grateful to the gardeners for giving their time, knowledge and experience to Hft to raise much needed funds. We hope to do more great events like this that allow people with learning disabilities to live the best life possible.”

The 60 guests had the chance to learn more about Hft, whilst enjoying canapes made and served by people supported locally by the charity, who were instrumental in helping to promote and execute the event.

The event managed to raise £3,000 to fund the creation of a new space.

Judy Johnson, registered cluster manager for the region, said: “The people we support loved representing Hft at this brilliant event."

Money raised is set to go towards building a new conservatory at an Hft service in Moreton-in- Marsh. The supported living service’s residents are keen gardeners, and take great pride in their garden, which is already equipped with a pergola and various items designed to stimulate the senses. Anyone with an idea for a fundraising activity can email hello@hft.org.uk.