Final burst of glorious colour

A wet and miserable year is, thankfully, on the way out, but there’s still time to enjoy autumn and all it has to offer – and enjoy a good day out.

The 2012 Harrogate Autumn Flower Show takes place this month, and offers some of the finest things to be found in the world of horticulture.

Last year was the first featuring a garden border competition offering garden designers, landscapers, colleges and other horticultural organisations the chance to inspire less-talented gardeners.

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From traditional shrubs and herbaceous perennials to tropical varieties or bog plants, the theme for the border is entirely optional.

Last year also saw the introduction of a series of classes for giant vegetables, adding mammoth marrows, tremendous tomatoes and colossal cucumbers to the traditional displays of top-class fruit, vegetables and flowers. The new classes include the heaviest marrow, cabbage, potato and tomato, plus the longest runner bean and cucumber.

But perhaps the biggest event is the National Onion Championship – the challenge to find the heaviest onion in the world. Champion grower Peter Glazebrook, from Newark, smashed the world record for the heaviest onion with a whopping 17lb 15.5oz specimen at the 2011 Autumn Show.

The public weigh-in for the heaviest onion competition will take place at noon on Friday, September 15, as part of the National Onion Championship run by the North of England Horticultural Society and sponsored by Kitchen Garden.

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And then there are the spectacular floral displays where an array of colours and aromas combine to create a truly memorable experience.

Fuchsias, dahlias, gladioli, chrysanthemums, carnations, delphiniums and pelargoniums are among the host of flowers on display.

And for lovers of floral art there will be more than 100 painstakingly prepared individual works on display, depicting a wide variety of fascinating topics.

The annual fruit show includes a new class for grapes and will also feature stunning displays produced by professional gardeners at private estates and stately homes across the region.

The 2012 Harrogate Autumn Flower Show takes place on the September 14-16 at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, HG2 8PW.