Gardening: Harrogate Autumn Flower Show is worth a visit

Giant veg grower Kevin Fortey launches the new novice giant veg classes at Harrogate Flower Shows with a monster marrow.
Giant veg grower Kevin Fortey launches the new novice giant veg classes at Harrogate Flower Shows with a monster marrow.

Far from winding down in September, Harrogate Autumn Flower Show is a great place for inspiration, buying end-of-season bargains - and the famous monster veg.

It’s our closest major horticultural show and runs from Friday, September 15 to Sunday, September 17 and it’s worth the effort to get there.

Apart from a great day out, even for non-gardeners, if you’re after plants or gardening sundries, the prices are so good you’ll save the cost of your entry fee.

A new exhibition tracing the ancestry of popular plants forms the centrepiece for this year’s theme, Postcards from the Hedge.

Plant nursery displays, live expert demonstrations, food and gifts, is topped off by the famous giant vegetable competition, run by the North of England Horticultural Society.

The competition, in The Gardening Hall, is a real crowd puller and there are new classes for novice growers - heaviest tomato, heaviest marrow, and longest runner bean.

There are 13 expert classes for the heaviest and the longest, including pumpkin, marrow, parsnip, leek, cabbage, potato, beetroot, carrot, rhubarb, runner bean, and cucumber.

Multiple giant veg record holder Kevin Fortey will be sharing his secrets in a series of talks.

The National Heavy Onion Championship will include a world record weigh-in at noon on Friday. The champion is Tony Glover, from Birmingham, who set the record in 2014 with an 18lb 11oz (8.47kg) monster. The Floral Pavilion hosts the country’s biggest exhibition by specialist gardening groups, with more than 5,000 autumn blooms, including chrysanths and dahlias.

Other attractions include:

In Plant Nursery Pavilion, there’s a celebration of the intrepid plant hunter - Raiders of the Lost Parks

Dozens of displays by the UK’s top nurseries

Feast! Cookery Theatre with top chefs

How2 demonstrations - practical advice on gardening techniques

Kitchen Garden Live team for expert talks

Dig It Garden Theatre

Garden Advice Bureau

Tickets cost: Friday and Saturday, £18 on the gate for Friday and Saturday, £16.50 on Sunday. Under 16s free when accompanied by an adult. Visit www.flowershow.org.uk or call 01423 546157 for more information.