Harrogate Autumn Flower Show

Tomorrow sees the start of the 38th Harrogate Autumn Flower Show on the Great Yorkshire Showground. Despite its name, the show is not just about flowers, although we do have some of the best flower displays of dahlias, roses, carnations, gladioli and chrysanthemums that you find anywhere. The Harrogate shows cover gardening of all types and visitors will be able to marvel at the nursery displays, show gardens, geraniums, fuchsias, bonsai and of course the fruit and vegetable competitions, which this year promise to be spectacular as a result of the good growing season. Top that lot off with bulbs and garden sundries, plus foods and crafts and gifts and you can see why it’s not just about flowers!

We also pride ourselves on the talks and demonstration areas at the show. We have four gardening areas around the show where experts are on hand to dispense help and information throughout the day. The Garden Advisory Bureau is run by members of the Institute of Horticulture and is the place to be for one to one gardening advice. In the Specialist Societies marquee talks ranging from flower arranging to keeping hens take place throughout the day. For information about growing fruit and vegetables you need to be at Kitchen Garden Live in hall 2, where amongst the many speakers local gardener Joe Maiden will be enthusing about growing vegetables.

At the Dig It Garden Theatre gardening experts will be giving demonstrations and answering gardening questions as part of the regular question & Answer sessions hosted by Dougie Weake. On Sunday morning BBC Radio York will be broadcasting live from the show and Nigel Harrison, Sarah Hopps and myself will be answering gardening questions from the audience.

We are also delighted to announce that Katie Rushworth, presenter on Alan Titchmarsh’s Love Your Garden programme, will be at the show on all three days. Katie, who also runs Queen of Spades garden design, will be meeting show visitors and giving a demonstration on her favourite autumn plants.

No stranger to Harrogate Flower Shows, Katie was part of a former Premier Gold Award winning show garden team from Craven College, where she studied for a degree in garden design.


One group of plants that are very popular at the moment are peppers and this year because of the warm summer they have grown well. They come in all shapes and sizes and are very easy to grow in large containers. The range of different varieties is huge and you can grow varieties that range from mild tasting sweet peppers to the very hot chilli peppers that blow your head off! They also make very attractive plants and with a little care they can be kept from one year to the next in a light frost-free place. By this time of the year the plants should be carrying a good crop of fruits that are now starting to ripen. Most peppers start off green and will change colour as they ripen to yellow, orange or red, although some varieties remain green. To encourage the fruits to develop and mature feeding with a high potash fertiliser such as tomato food will really help. At the autumn show we are holding a mini ChilliFest and there you will be able to see around 40 different types of chillies and peppers that have been grown by Ady Dayman, a chilli enthusiast and local BBC radio gardener.

If you have a gardening question for Martin Fish please email him at martin@flowershow.org.uk and we’ll print a selection of questions and answers for readers to share. Or, write to Ackrill Media Group, 1 Cardale Park, Harrogate and we’ll pass on your question