John Cushnie

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John Alexander Montgomery Cushnie (14 May 1943 – 31 December 2009) was a landscape designer, author, journalist, and broadcaster in the United Kingdom, best known as a regular panellist on the long-running BBC Radio 4 programme Gardeners' Question Time.

Early life[edit]

Cushnie was born in Lurgan, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, in May 1943, the son of a factory supervisor.[1] He was educated at Lurgan College, before studying at the Greenmount College of Agriculture and Horticulture.[1]


After graduating from Greenmount College, Cushnie began a ten-year career in the civil service in Belfast, working for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.[1]

After this, he established a landscape design and contracting company – Cushnie Landscapes.[1] He worked across the United Kingdom, for both the public and private sectors, focussing on creating "traditional" gardens.[1] The firm had up to 12 employees.[1]

His work with Cushnie Landscapes brought him to the attention of BBC Radio Ulster, where he was invited to appear as a gardening expert.[1] Cushnie later became a regular panellist for 15 years on the BBC Radio 4 programme Gardeners' Question Time.[1] Mark Damazer, the station's former controller, said that Cushnie "laced every programme with warmth and joy".[1] He also answered questions for 39 years on BBC Radio Ulster's gardening programmes.[2]

In addition to his radio work and the running of his company he was gardening editor of Ireland's Homes Interior and Living magazine and was a contributor to the Daily Telegraph.

Personal life[edit]

He lived in Killyleagh, County Down and studied horticulture at Greenmount College of Agriculture and Horticulture in Antrim. He was married with two sons and a daughter. Although he was brought up as a Presbyterian, after he married he followed his wife's denomination (the Church of Ireland). Cushnie died on 31 December 2009 from a heart attack, aged 66, less than a week after his final appearance on Gardeners' Question Time.[1][3]


  • Ground Cover: a thousand beautiful plants for difficult places (with photographs from The Garden Picture Library, hardcover, 160 pages, Kyle Cathie Limited, 1999, ISBN 1-85626-326-6)
  • How to Garden: the only gardening book you will ever need (with photographs by Steven Wooster, hardcover, 192 pages, Angus Books Limited, 2001, ISBN 1-904594-27-1)
  • Gardener's Question Time: All Your Gardening Problems Solved (with co-authors Bob Flowerdew, Pippa Greenwood, Bunny Guinness, Anne Swithinbank, illustrations by Bunny Guinness, and photographs from The Garden Picture Gallery and others, paperback, 325 pages, Bookmart Limited, 2005, ISBN 1-84509-189-2)
  • How to Prune: techniques and tips for every plant and every season (with photographs by John Swithinbank, hardcover, 256 pages, Kyle Cathie Limited, 2007, ISBN 978-1-85626-738-0)
  • Hedge Man: John Cushnie (with illustrations by Chris Gould and foreword by Bunny Guinness, hardcover, 198 pages, Constable and Robinson Limited, 2010, ISBN 978-1-84901-545-5)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "John Cushnie". Daily Telegraph. Daily Telegraph. 1 January 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  2. ^ "Last Word", BBC Radio 4, BBC, 1 January 2010
  3. ^ "Gardeners' Question Time star John Cushnie dies". BBC News. BBC. 1 January 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2010.

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