Big is Beautiful at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show 2011

PUBLISHED: 00:16 07 November 2011 | UPDATED: 20:15 20 February 2013

Big is Beautiful at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show 2011

Big is Beautiful at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show 2011

Ambitious growers add a giant-size attraction to the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show as Martin Fish reports

Thousands of visitors marvelled at the wonderful plant and produce displays staged by a mixture or professional and amateur growers at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show held at the Great Yorkshire Showground in the town.

The show, organised by the North of England Horticultural Society (NEHS), is well established and widely regarded as the best autumn show in the UK. Although historically called a flower show, the event offers far more than flowers and caters for all gardening needs, whether you are looking to buy some daffodil bulbs or a ride-on lawn mower.

To celebrate the centenary year of the NEHS several new features were introduced including new giant vegetable classes. The show already hosts the largest vegetable show in the country, but giant vegetables were never part of the competition. Giant cabbages, heavy potatoes, huge marrows and long cucumbers were all part of the competition, which proved to be very popular with exhibitors and visitors. New fruit and vegetable classes were also introduced in reaction to the increasing popularity of growing your own.

One new fruit class however was for professional gardeners only and this was won by Jonathon Parkinson, the head gardener at Mulgrave Castle, near Whitby, with a beautiful basket of fruit. Id like to see all the large houses in Yorkshire entering a basket of fruit, which would make a great competition and capture some fruit-growing heritage.

Star of the vegetable show has to go to Peter Glazebrook who has been exhibiting large onions at Harrogate for many years. This year he excelled and won the competition with a massive 17lb 15 oz onion creating a new world record at the same time. The president of the NEHS, the Duchess of Northumberland was at the show and as soon as she heard the news about the world record onion she as asked to see the giant onion and hold it!

Also new this year was the Garden Border Competition. Eight designers, colleges and groups each designed and created a border at the show measuring approximately 4m x 1.8m. The variety of styles and planting was inspirational and Im sure inspired visitors. The overall winner was Jeni Cairns with the premier award for her Reclaiming the Border design that included many old garden implements.

The gold award went to Harrogate landscaper David Massey with a bright border inspired by the punk era called Never Mind the Hollyhocks. The Craven College team who planted a border called Wildlife Haven received a silver-gilt award. All the borders were very good and hopefully the groups will return in April to create a show garden.

The ever-popular flower halls were also full of nurseries from across the UK with a wide range of plants. Yorkshire certainly has its fair share of nurseries that come to the show each year, but this years Best in Show went to Edrom Nurseries from the Scottish Borders with a wonderful display of autumn flowering gentians. They were probably the most photographed plants at the show in their many shades of blue.

In the Specialist Societies marquee amateur growers from across the region staged some wonderful displays of flowers and plants. The Harrogate Flower Shows are one of the few shows that bring together so many organisations under one roof to promote their clubs and societies.

In the cookery theatre talented chefs from around Yorkshire gave entertaining and informative demonstrations using a wide range of fresh, local produce. Rosemary Shrager made her first visit to the show and gave a lively talk and demonstration to a full audience.

The shows are over for this year but its guaranteed that work has already begun on planning for 2012.

The print version of this article appeared in the November 2011 issue of Yorkshire Life

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