Heavyweight contenders

Peter Glazebrook, winner of the heaviest onion championships at the Harrogate Flower Show
Peter Glazebrook, winner of the heaviest onion championships at the Harrogate Flower Show
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For many gardeners, the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show more or less marks the end of the gardening year – a flamboyant finale filled with colour. This year’s show takes place from September 12-14 with yet again some of the finest things to be found in the world of horticulture.

Perhaps the biggest event is the National Onion Championship – the challenge to find the heaviest onion in the world. The current record of 18lbs 1oz (8.19kg) was set by Peter Glazebrook in 2012, but that whopper could be toppled at noon on Friday, September 12 when this year’s monsters are weighed.

But it’s not just giant onions – growers from all over the country have spent their spring and summer carefully nurturing other giant veg, ready for the battle of the bulge. There are 12 classes of marvellous monsters, including marrows, pumpkins, parsnips, carrots, leeks, beetroot, runner beans, tomatoes and potatoes.

New this year is Inspiration Street, a series of small gardens set against the backdrop of a traditional street scene.

The Avenue will offer beautiful, larger-scale gardens, plus a new Community Spirit feature with “message in a garden” designs from community groups and charities.

Many people struggle with the plot at the front of their house. Designers and estate agents often talk about “kerb appeal” but, whatever you choose to call it, making the most of every bit of your garden becomes a real possibility with the right inspiration.

The show is launching a new concept in small-scale design with a row of 5m x 3m or 5m x 4m gardens, set against the backdrop of a traditional street, to give visitors lots of ideas to take home.

And there will be a varied range of large-scale gardens, showcasing the skills of experienced designers from across the region, along The Avenue. The gardens are either 5m x 5m or 6m x 8m and there is no set theme.

And as part of the North of England Horticultural Society’s commitment to supporting other charity groups and community projects, groups will be given the chance to send “a message in a garden” to visitors at the show. Each group will be invited to create a 4m x 4m garden.

The 2014 Harrogate Autumn Flower Show takes place on the September 12-14, and is open between 9.30am and 5.30pm (4.30pm Sunday) at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, HG2 8PW. www.flowershow.org.uk