Home Horticultural shows Harrogate Autumn Flower Show 2018 preview

Harrogate Autumn Flower Show 2018 preview

National Onion Championship winner 2017
National Onion Championship winner 2017 at Harrogate Autumn Flower Show

Plants that give us pleasure – and monster veg

Imagine your dream garden… then imagine if the centrepiece was made from real chocolate!

This year’s autumn theme for the Harrogate Flower Show celebrates plants that have given us pleasure for millennia.

From chocolate and coffee to wine and vines the show will explore the origins of the flora so often said to be naughty, but nice.

Among the Plants of Pleasure displays will be a special chocolate garden, with dark planting on the outside, working towards a rich, gooey centre of real chocolate plants and flowers, complete with a chocolate fountain.

The chocolate flower -Cosmos atrosanguineus

Created by Ripon designer Helen Hays, Harrogate landscaper Nick Fryer and York Chef-Chocolatier Ashley McCarthy, the garden is a tribute to cacao.

The chocolate heart of The Tempered Garden will take Ashley McCarthy about 30 days and 30kg of dark Belgian chocolate to make.

Owner of Ye Old Sun Inn at Colton, near York, Ashley has been working with chocolate for 14 years and specialises in centrepiece sculptures.

Ashley said: “Chocolate definitely comes high on the list of guilty pleasures, so to have a whole garden with beautiful flowers on the outside and real chocolate in the centre sounds like many people’s idea of heaven!”

Giant vegetable show

Always a favourite is the NEHS Giant Vegetable Competition, with 13 classes competing in the Gardening Hall.

Find out the heaviest and longest in classes including pumpkin, marrow, parsnip, leek, cabbage, potato, beetroot, carrot, rhubarb, runner bean and cucumber.

The novice classes for the longest runner bean, heaviest tomato and longest cucumber offer the chance for less experienced gardeners to have a go.

The National Heavy Onion Championship, sponsored by Kitchen Garden Magazine, will include a world record weigh-in (noon, Friday, September 15) to see if Tony Glover’s 2014 whopper weighing in at 18lb 11oz (8.47kg) can be beaten.

The giant vegetable competition can be found in The Gardening Hall.

Humphrey Repton tribute

There’s a bicentenary tribute to Humphry Repton, the man who invented the term ‘landscape gardener’.

An exhibition called The Great Improver will celebrate Repton’s work, made famous by the ground-breaking, before and after Red Books he created to illustrate his landscape make-overs.

harrogate autumn flower show 2018Border competition

Borderline, the show’s border competition will have ideas for smaller plots. New designs are being released each week in the run-up to the show. Here are the first two:

Tekku garden border, by KG Cooke Design, Leeds: A small tranquil pool acts as a focal point to reflect the sky and plants, as well as attracting wildlife. Planting combines an informal naturalistic style, punctuated by a small number of formal features with grasses and herbs.

Season of Mists, by Rachel Forbes Landscape Design, Burley-in-Wharfedale: A celebration of autumn inspired by the Keats poem, To Autumn. Plants bearing fruit and berries provide structure, alongside soft grasses. Warm coppery tones of flowering perennials mix with hedgerow and meadow planting to extend the boundaries into the natural landscape.

Admiring the dahlias at the 2016 Harrogate Autumn Show
Admiring the dahlias at the 2016 Harrogate Autumn Show

Favourite attractions

Of course, the favourite elements of the show are still taking place:

  • Plant Nursery Pavilion and specialist gardening societies
  • Floral Art
  • Feast! Food Theatre
  • Shed Talk
  • GROW! Garden Theatre
  • Crafts, gifts, garden shopping and food marquee
  • Fun for children

Show details

  • Where: The Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG2 8NZ
  • When: September 14-16
  • Getting there by car: Fully signposted on all approach roads to the showground, situated on the SE corner of Harrogate on the A661, Wetherby Road. All parking is free. As you approach Harrogate, follow the yellow event road signs rather than sat-nav.
  • By train: Harrogate station, on the York-Leeds line, is two miles away, with a shuttle bus (charge for service) every 20 minutes from Harrogate bus station (next door to station on Station Parade).
  • Tickets: Friday and Saturday: £20 on the gate, £17.50 when bought by Tuesday, September 4. Sunday: £18.50 on the gate, £16 in advance. Under 16s free when accompanied by an adult.
  • More information: www.flowershow.org.uk or call 01423 546157.
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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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