Harrogate Autumn Show - 2016

Over the last couple of years there has been extensive alterations to the show grond the largest one being the replacement of Hall 1

It is an impressive building but to me it lacks the atmosphere of the old one.

In my opinion this could be down to a number of factors one of which was; it looked unfinished in places!

I had the feeling that in order to have it ready for the Autumn show the organisers may have put some temporary measures in place with a view to monitoring them to see what may need a tweaking between now and the next show.

The lighting within the hall now named "The Plant Pavillion" is much better, and there is more exhibiting space which afterall was the plan.

But sadly I think because of associated costs there were fewer trade stands to fill this space, and it was this I think caused the loss of 'atmosphere' That is, the stands were spaced out in order to create the impression that the hall was in full use.

Perhaps in the fulness of time when the traders see what is on offer they will flock back......fingers crossed!

Hall 2 was it usual self although the lighting was much improved which made for a better visual experience when viewing the produce within.

The organisers have made few modifications to the layout of the showbenches which to me seemed more user friendly. The change was quite a simple one in so far as all it entailed was basically to laying out the benches in the opposite direction.

I found this better in so far as the various classes were split up better, as on a number of occasions in the past I didn't always know what was in the National Sections as opposed to the NVS categories,
so yes an improvement!


Outdoors the covered Trade stand corridor which has been moved slightly due to the increased size of Hall 1 seemed more fit for purpose and the floor surface was much firmer.

This relocation of the corridor meant that a row of uncovered Trade stands had to be moved elsewhere on the showground.

This was not a major problem but to regular visitors like me it meant I had to search around for the new locations. Having said that the organisers had installed strategic site plans in order to address these changes.

The showground as a whole in terms of weatherproofing is one of the best I have attended with around 80% of it under cover and nearly 100% of the walkways are hard paved.

Due to this, the need for the obligatory 'wellington boots' is not required, although you might need them in the car park which is grassland, particularly if it has rained just prior to your visit. Personally Iwear a good pair of stout walking boots to cater for this.

So my thoughts on the new infrastucture of the show is: better! but the organisers must do something to attract more traders and possibly a few more show gardens.

My message to the organisers would be: OK regulars like me will still keep on coming back, but if you want future generations to do the same, you will have to create something to attract them!


As normal with my blogs I will cover the various areas of the show in alphabetical order rather than as a tour.

Similarly you will find that clicking on the pictures will enlarge them.



The Bonsai Society

These guys were certainly out in force this year and I could have spent much longer than I did looking at their efforts, but as always time was at a premium if I wanted to get around the whole show in a day.

I love this miniaturisation of plants and often wish i had taken the art up many years ago,and I really admire the patience and dedication these guys put into their hobby. Unlike say a Chrysanthemum or Dahlia grower who may put similar effort into their hobby they do it with a different plant annually, the Bonsai specialist may attend to a given plant for quite a large part of their life.

That to me is dedication!

As I mentioned in last years blog, once again I noticed that some members of the British Fuchsia Society were also getting in on the act with their bonsaied fuchsia.



The Carnation Society

There did not seem to be as many exhibits this year compared with past years. Possibly this was primarily down to the growing season we have had in 2016, which to say the least, has seen some extreme variations in temperature.

Crompton Classic


Linfield Annies Fancy



Sutton Brierly Grace


Quite often specialist growers keep their growing methods a secret, but this year this society made the recipe for their Carnation compost public and here it is:



The Chrysanthemum Society-Northern Branch

As always these benches are usually well filled and this year was no exception.

Because I have so many Chrysanthemum photos on file many of which can be seen in my other blogs and as time was pressing, I just took a pictures of a couple of varieties that caught my eye on a specialist trade stand.

<< Gingernut - Arctic Queen >>




The National Dahlia Society-Northern Branch

Like the Chrysanthemums there were many beautiful blooms to be seen, many of which can be seen elsewhere on my website, so I refrained from taking too many pictures.

Having said I took the odd picture of any variety that took my eye. Plus as I knew I would be writing this blog, I thought I would take picturers of a few arrangements, one because they look lovely, and two you can often see many varieties in one arrangement so it saves me taking photos of the same variety on the show benches.

Carol Dancer

Christmas Carol

Claire de Lune


Josudi Neptune







Floral Art (NAFAS)

The floral art section which is always well represented at this show,is a section of the show where clubs, individuals and college students take part.

The thing that amazes me most about these artists is what they each read into either a one word or one line phrase then go on to produce of a piece of art that is totally different from each other.

This show was no exception, as I am sure you will see when I show you the brief that the artists get, and the exhibits they produce.

The theme for the floor exhibits of which there were five was "It's a Pantomime......Oh yes it is"

These exhibits are designed to be viewed all around.

I took a number of shots of these from various angles and chose what I considered to be the best view I took.




Jack and the Beanstalk

Puss in Boots

Snow White


The following exhibits were staged to comply with the title and method of judging / viewing.


Black Magic.....To be viewed from and judged the front.



Cascading into Winter.....To be viewed and judged from the front.


Chaos to Calm.....To be viewed and judged all around


Foraging Feast.....To be viewed and judged from the front.


Haloween Treats......A Bridal design to be held in the hand.

Fresh flowers and foliage must predominate and accessories may be included.

The Kathleen Bretherick Trophy will be awarded to the winner in this class.



Harvest Moon....An exhibit featuring roses staged on a black drape, and judged from the front.

The winner of this class will be awarded The Royal National Rose Society whiskey tumbler.


Mesmerise: A contemporary arrangement to be viewed and judged from the front.


Seeds of Success.....A wall hanging arrangement where seed heads,pods and foliage predominate.

Accessories may be included.


The Old Potting Shed..... to be viewed and judged from the front.




The Fuchsia Society

This is a section of the show I have not covered much in previous visits so I thought I would have a look at what was on offer.

When talking to one of the officials he showed me a live Vine Weevil something a familiar pest to Fuchsia growers, so that in itself made my visit worthwhile.

In terms of plants there were many, too many to photograph so here are a few that particularly caught my eye.

Waveney Queen

Wigan Pier

Roger de Cooker

Little Beauty

London 2000


Jack Shahan

I'm in Charge

Border Raider

Jan Murray



The Gladiolus Society

This was another showbench I did not spend much time at simply because I had done this in previous years.

As always the show was well represented and the benches were quite full.

A tray of unamed florets caught my eye so I photographed these to place in this blog.




The Giant Vegetable Competition

This class seems to attract more and more exhibitors each year resulting in staging that must have been creaking under the weight upon it. As usual if you listened to the comments from the viewers it would be along the lines; aint they ugly, can you eat them? or more to the point would you want to eat them?

Personally I look upon them as a year of hard work to get them to this size, and quite often I think they take as much looking after as there near perfect counterparts elsewhere in the show.


(17lbs 5oz)



(14lb 13oz)



(14lbs 6oz)



(103lb 15oz)


Parsnip 3.95kg

(8lbs 12oz)



(34 inches)



(17lbs 10oz)



(18lbs 12oz)



(4lbs 9oz)



(56 lbs)



(307lbs 10oz)


(25lbs 7oz)


(4lb 8oz)

n.b. Apologies for the quality of the pictures of the three heaviest onions. The exhibits were on a pedestal which was difficult to get to to take pictures.



National Vegetable Society

Each year this show hosts the Northern Branch Championships for the National Vegetable Society, where many of the country’s top growers compete for many coveted titles.

Among the classes are; onions, carrots, shallots, tomatoes, beans, potatoes, celery, cauliflowers, beetroot and leeks.

The Championships are staged in The Gardening Hall, where members of the NVS are on hand to give cultural advice on the growing of such specimens and information about the society and how you can join it.

With so many exhibits to view it was not practicle to photograph them all, so here are a few that exemplify the standard of growing.

LOng Carrots

Stump Carrots

Carrot Colllection



Collection of 3 Veg

Gardener's Collection

3 Veg 2 of each class

Basket of Fruit

Five Coloured & 5 White Potatoes

3 Blanch Leeks

2 Pot Leeks

3 Exhibition Onions

5 Exhibition Onions

3 Garlic

12 Shallots

Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn




The Rose Society

As to be expected at a show of this calibre, the exhibitors were all up to their usual high standard.

Now I am not a great lover of Roses so I did not spend much time on the exhibits but the arrangements placed on the advice desk were lovely and well worth taking a picture of as you can see here;




Show Gardens

The first garden I saw was in the foyer of the new Flower Pavillion and was named "The Dark Side"

According to the placard along side the garden the message was meant to encourage us to use black or near black plants, and the garden did indeed do this very well and the steel work was magnificent. However!

The feature in the centre of the garden 'a stone coffin' may have been in keeping with the the title " The Dark Side" but personally I don't think I would have liked Count Dracula's Coffin in my back garden.

Had the designers used perhaps a traditional light coloured water feature such as a marble or moulded stone statue, or gone contempoary with say a stainless steel water wall or ball then perhaps I would have considered putting such a feature in my garden.....but a thanks!

My opinon; A beautiful garden spoiled by its centre piece!



The Community Spirit Gardens

These gardens represented the work of various National Charities and what they do at home and abroad.


Growing with Lions garden - Lion Club International

In 2017, Lions Clubs International will celebrate 100 years as a worldwide service organisation.

To mark this celebration all 52 Lions clubs of Yorkshire and their 980 members have come together to display a message using the visual of nature and the garden.

The garden reflects the four main areas of service that Lions do both in local communities and worldwide.

For example; sight & hearing,health, disaster relief and supporting the community.

The garden surrounded by a picket fence illustrates their 'helping hands'

The garden includes a book section,water pump and rock feature to depict the different aspects of their work.

The Lion water feature, depicting the provision of fresh clean water which can change the lives of so many.

The sensory garden illustrates the work done in aid of the visually impaired and the deaf.

The Orchard, celebrates youth and the health and welfare projects that are so necessary in today's world.

And last but not least, the drought area, where the very existence of life can be a hardship for so many deprived people.



Meru Garden for Life - Soroptomist International

This garden represents Kenya coming to Yorkshire, and in particular the Meru Women's Garden Project.

It tells the story of how women are educated and taught how to grow crops to provide food and income for their families.

Containers are regularly used in the production of crops grown in Meru. Typical crops are : Tomatoes, Chillies, Peas and various other vegetables.

The garden also includes an Apple tree and a Masai shield representing the defence of freedom.




Friend or Foe - from Harrogate-based charity 'Horticap'

The garden features giant, hand-made sculptures exploring both the naughty and the nice things you can find in the garden.

It comprises of a series of garden sections including an allotment plot, a formal decorative area and a wildlife haven.

Young visitors to this garden have the chance to follow a trail around the plot, counting the collection of curious creatures as they go.

The young handicapped students put a lot of work into their hand-made sculptures, and it was lovely to see so many of them chatting with the general public about what they have done..... This fun plot deserved the Gold medal it received.




Green Lane

This is a new feature at the show where these gardens have been created by the partnership the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) and the Industry Trainers Landscape Skills Academy.

The gardens were designed to be practical and functional small back gardens.

Young apprentices and landscapers mentored by Industry leaders were given 4 days to create each of the following gardens.


The Wildlife Garden

Features soft, natural planting with areas of long, uneven grass, this design offers a haven that will bring wildlife right to your back door.

A specimen tree provides height and a home to birds, while the log store encourages bug life to thrive.

Paving and stepping stones allow human visitors to enjoy the pergola hide out in the corner.



Alfresco Living

This alfresco design illustrates how to make the most of a small space.

Complete with freestanding BBQ and circular seating, the garden also features large size paving to maximise the entertaining space.

The edges are softened by informal planting, with bay trees in pots to give height and structure.



Let’s grow together

Many terraced homes have communal garden spaces, so this design puts an often neglected area to good use as a shared grow your own plot.

Raised beds give a space for each gardener to grow their own produce, with a central pallet table to double up as a work bench or somewhere to get together for socialising.

Practical block paving and gravel provide a practical finish, while feature shrubs soften the design and add colour.



Just potty about containers

Container planting is a practical way to make the most of a small back garden and this design gives lots of ideas for creating a low maintenance, contemporary space.

Complete with artificial grass, traditional paving and a space for storage, the garden has large containerised plants in each corner to define the boundaries.

It is finished off with a feature hedge and a bench.




Children welcome

When there are children in the house, outdoor space is precious.

This garden adapts a small area for use by all the family, with a grass lawn and a ‘very posh’ feature shed that could double up as both storage and a den!

Vertical posts add height and interest, while soft planting provides colour, texture and a sense of movement.




Inspiration Street

This is a regular feature at the show and is a collection of gardens designed and built by professionals.



Beyond Expectations - Designer Henshaw Arts & Crafts Centre

Full stops usually signal an end, but Henshaws use this as a starting point in their garden to signify the support the centre gives disabled adults, encouraging them to move past barriers and travel beyond their expectations.

The garden depicts this journey of growth through a combination of mosaic and ceramic tiling, plus a range of features made by the centre's Art Makers.

Planting reflects stages of growth from seedling to sapling, with a combination of ornamental, edible and sensory plants.




My favourite kind of garden, what’s yours? - Designed by Down 2 Earth

This cottage-style garden is designed to offer space for everyone.

It includes lawn for play, a patio for entertaining, a raised bed with potting bench and even a log pile bug hotel, bird bath and feeder.

Planting offers year round structure with shrubs and trees, plus perennials to provide interest for both people and wildlife.

Colours are predominantly purples, blues, whites and pinks, with an occasional splash of red.



Crate Expectations - Designer Kitchen Magazines

Designed to demonstrate how you can create ‘something for nothing’, this garden brings the inside out with a fun mix of fruit, vegetables and herbs in a variety of sometimes surprising containers.

Sourced mainly from skips, sales and even neighbours, you will find recycled furniture and other materials painted in a range of bright colours adding a contemporary feel to this small plot. And the planting - well who said cabbages can’t be colourful?



Healthy Roots: A garden to support - Designer Braithwaites Garden Centre & Florist

This garden is designed to show the relationship between nature, health and the well-being of people.

The red cross path system represents the well-known first aid symbol and the central cobble heart depicts the love we share with nature.

Planting is entirely medicinal and includes a chamomile lawn.

A bee hive also demonstrates the link between plants, insects and people.



Fifty Shades of Green - Designer Wykeham Mature Plants

Green is the colour of balance and conjures a calming effect in a hectic world.

It offers peace and reassurance, and can provide a sense of harmony and wellbeing to soothe even the most jaded of emotions.

This garden has been created to greet your weary eye with peace and tranquillity after a long day at work. 

Utilising planting for structure, texture and shape gives variety within a limited colour palette, while use of space, light and reflection provides a unique feeling of calm to welcome you home.




Trade Stands

I do not know if it was my imagination but I thought there were fewer Trade Stand this year.

My thought were is this a result of the upset over the last couple of years during which extensive alterations have taken place and the stands that most affected by this upset just decided to wait until all the renovations had taken place, or was it the expense of attending the shows and the costs outweighed the benefits of attending the show.

Hopefully now that the renovations are now more or less complete these traders will return next year.

Garden Buildings

Garden Buildings

Floral Pavillion

Driftwood Sculptures


Water Feature


Water Features


..............and that concludes my visit to Harrogate Autumn Show 2016.


Note: The details contained in this blog were sourced from leaflets exhibitors handed out, my Show Programme and the Harrogate Flower show website. With the aid of these sources I was able to put some sense to what I had seen. So a big thanks to you all!


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