They fought off bands of marauding bandits, pirates, pestilence and dangerous terrain in tales that would put Indiana Jones to shame.
Now Harrogate Autumn Flower Show, which takes place at the Great Yorkshire Showground, is paying tribute to a band of brave hunters, who risked life and limb to bring us plants from around the world.
The theme for this year’s autumn show, which starts tomorrow (Friday) and runs until Sunday (September 17), is Postcards from the Hedge, inviting visitors to travel the world in their garden by tracing the global ancestry of many of our most popular plants.
Harrogate Show Director, Nick Smith, said: “With the vast array of plant varieties now available to us, it is easy to forget that most of them have roots that reach the four corners of the globe and that a small band of dedicated people risked and, in some cases, lost their lives to bring us the exotic species to brighten our flower borders.
“We should also remember that less welcome invaders found their way to the UK during this great age of discovery - giant hogweed, Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam and Rhododendron ponticum were all brought to our shores for ornamental use, but are now regarded as serious threats to the British countryside.”
In addition to a range of travel-themed displays and exhibits throughout the show, there will be special talks on the Plant Hunters by BBC Radio York gardening expert and former horticultural lecturer, Nigel Harrison.
For details visit www.flowershow.org.uk.