Wow- what a weekend and what a show! The Harrogate Autumn Flower Show opened this weekend - the last weekend of summer, yet the sun was out pretty much out from the time we arrived on Friday to Sunday evening.
We were really excited to be invited to exhibit in the Plant Pavilion by the National Vegetable Society stand this year. We wanted to encourage nervous new-comers into growing vegetables - with some handy tips and advice, we were keen to get gardeners to have a grow.
At Marshalls we love exhibiting at this show. It's our opportunity to meet keen show visitors; experts and novices alike- and talk with new and old customers face-to-face finding out how their vegetable plots got on this season and offering tips on what they can try next year.
We had a range of seeds for show, including popular tomato 'Shirley' which visitors to the show were quickly purchasing from Friday on, and sets of our popular bulb vegetables onion 'Shakespeare', shallot 'Yellow Moon' and garlic 'Provence Wight'.
All the above bulb vegetables are ideal for planting now while the soil is still warm. They'll then overwinter, getting suitably hardy and robust for appearing in spring with resistance to bolting and rust. By June you'll be enjoying a good harvest.
While we were selling our wares and talking to visitors one of the team got a small window of opportunity to see what else was happening at the show. As we were located by the National Vegetable Society section, who we proudly sponsor, we could watch the flocks of visitors witnessing the impressive exhibits from gigantic pumpkins and metre-long carrots and leeks, to beautifully-raised cauliflowers with snow-white curds.
On the Friday the National Vegetable Society announced the deserved winners in the crop- growing competitions. There were a range of competition classes for different types of vegetables from massive marrows and pumpkins to long leeks.
From a fruit prespective, the apple harvests in the Gardening Hall looked gorgeous- with no two varieties the same. Now that the autumn's arrived it's that exciting type of year when you'll be harvesting the best of your top fruit like apples, pears and even quinces. You'll know the crops ready to harvest if the fruit comes off the stems easily with a twist and soft pull.
Visitors didn't only get the chance to see fantastic exhibits and buy seeds and sets for autumn-planting, they were treated too to gardening and growing experts at the Kitchen Garden Live talks. This was free to visitors to just come along, take a seat and watch the demonstrations and lectures.
There were talks elsewhere at the show too including the Dig It Garden and the Live Cookery Theatre.
And we have to mention the flowers- the array of late-summer perennials everywhere including dazzling dahlias - from cactus types to neat pom-poms. The flowers looked stunning both outdoors under the blue-sky and indoors as the sun-rays filtered through.
Of course, the show is a great opportunity for visitors to sign up to our monthly Marshalls newsletter too which offers timely advice, the latest news and top competitions.
We're looking forward to exhibiting at next year's show already.