Variety and colour all set to stun visitors at flower show

Olwen Dudgeon

A STUNNING array of colours and scents will greet the visitor to the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show which started its three-day run yesterday at the Great Yorkshire Showground.

The organisers, the North of England Horticultural Society, hope the weather will behave with everything on offer to delight the gardening enthusiast from bulbs to bonsai.

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New this year is a Fruit Show with mouth watering classes including apples, pears, plums and gages.

Hilary Dodson, chairwoman of the Northern Fruit Group said it reflected the increasing interest in growing home produce.

With hundreds of varieties of apples on display on the stand of R. V. Roger from Pickering, the launch of a new rosy apple Redlove by Suttons Seeds and Mr D’Arcy's Heritage Fruit Trees from Louth exhibiting at the show for the first time there is lots of choice.

Alongside the fruit are the champion leeks, carrots and potatoes and of course tension will mount until the weigh-in today for the National Onion Championship, one of the show highlights, as keen growers aspire to break the 16lbs 8.37oz world record.

This could be the year it is done.

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“From what we hear from our customers it has been a good growing season which means the specialist exhibitors will probably have done even better,” said Susan Robinson whose family firm W. Robinson and Sons Ltd is celebrating 150 years of growing vegetables with a magnificent display of produce at Harrogate.

“This show is a celebration of the growing season with exhibition tables groaning under the weight of the biggest and the best,” said NEHS President Marian Foster.

“You’ll need sunglasses in the specialist societies marquees, with glorious blooms, some the size of a world cup football.”

Many of the societies have their own shows with spectacular entries including chrysanthemums, dahlias, gladioli, fuchsias, carnation and roses which provide a riot of colour.

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Visitors can also see this year’s Chelsea Flower Show display created by the West Yorkshire group of the Hardy Plant Society, only this time using autumn instead of spring plants.

New plants on offer for the first time at Harrogate include a clematis “Tie Dye” on Taylors Clematis display from Doncaster. The late flowering clematis grows up to 15ft.

“It is aptly named with white splashes on purple,” said Chris and Suzy Cocks, who are hoping that it will prove a hit with the 35,000 visitors expected at the show over the next three days.