Monster veg and show gardens
Harrogate Autumn Flower Show (September 16-18) is my favourite of the year – who could not love monster vegetables?
Some of the main attractions are the show gardens, which are actually doable on ordinary plots and often fun, like Harrogate-based charity Horticap’s Friend or Foe? exhibit.
The plot features giant, hand-made sculptures exploring the naughty and the nice things you can find in the garden.
Snails, aphids and moles will be among the creatures to be found lurking among the plants, along with a living beehive.
Following the success of their Gold Award-winning Wallace and Gromit spring garden, Horticap’s latest design will form part of a major feature along The Avenue.
It will comprise a series of garden sections including an allotment plot, a formal decorative area and a wildlife haven. At its heart will be a recreation of the winning entry from a competition to find Harrogate’s most ‘interesting’ shed.
In a joint venture between Harrogate and District Allotment Federation and Harrogate in Bloom, the competition scoured local allotments to find the best of the sheds as part of the town’s submission to Britain in Bloom. The winner will be announced at the Harrogate Allotment Show on August 21.
Show director Nick Smith said: “Our autumn show is all about the practical things people can do to improve their garden, grow great produce or simply get ready for the new growing season.
“Horticap’s fun approach to show gardens gives us the opportunity to get the message across and make our visitors smile at the same time.
“The students put a lot of work into their hand-made sculptures and I am sure people will enjoy them as much as they did in the spring.”
Staged at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate Flower Show is the only show to offer autumn gardens, which this year will include not one, but two, street scenes.
Other new attractions will include The Dark Side, taking visitors on a journey through the twilight zone of the horticultural world, including poisonous plants.
The show’s annual giant vegetable competition continues to get bigger – many world records have been smashed in the past and visitors can look forward to another gargantuan battle.
Details: tickets, cost, getting there
Tickets: Fri & Sat: £17.50 on the gate, £15 when purchased by Tuesday, September 6. Sun: £16 on the gate, £13.50 in advance. Under 16s FREE when accompanied by an adult. Parking is free. Visit www.flowershow.org.uk or call 01423 546157.
Opening hours: The show is open from 9.30am until 5.30pm (Sunday 4.30pm). Last admission is 4.30pm Fri & Sat; 3.30pm Sun.
Gift packs: £49.50, including two tickets for any day, a programme and preferential car parking and also VIP hospitality packages. Availability is limited for both, so book early to avoid disappointment, call 01423 546157 for details.
Getting there: Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG2 8NZ. By road: The showground is fully signposted on all approach roads and is situated in the SE corner of Harrogate on the A661, Wetherby Road. Do not rely on sat nav to find the showground. Disabled Blue badge holders are parked separately and close to the entrance (on first-come-first-served basis). No motor homes, caravans or other large vehicles in the Blue Badge car park.
By rail: Two convenient stops on the Leeds/ York line – Hornbeam Park, 1 mile; Harrogate station, 2 miles, walk or catch the shuttle bus from the bus station.
By coach: All visitors arriving by coach enter via Brown Gate, directly opposite the coach park.
Shuttle bus: Operates every 20 mins from Harrogate bus station (next to rail station) to the showground. Single: £3.20; return: £4.80.