Last Friday I went to Harrogate Autumn Show for the first time. It was NAH's first flower show EVER and I'm happy to report we both had an excellent day. We particularly enjoyed the weigh-in for the heaviest onion class (top picture in the collage courtesy of NAH).
It turned out we witnessed a world beater, weighing in at an eye watering 18 pounds and 1 ounce. The grower of this particular giant was Peter Glazebrook, who's very well known in championship veg growing circles. Unknown to NAH, he was standing next to him at the weigh-in and was briefly glimpsed on the local TV coverage that evening as a result.
Peter Glazebrook swept the board in the six other heaviest/ longest/ biggest categories on offer at the show and thus earned the attention of the national media this week (and across the pond!). On Breakfast News on Monday he revealed his giant onion will be grown on next year to provide seed to add to his own world beating strain. I guess that makes it the world's biggest onion set too ;)
Other exhibits which particularly caught my eye were Robinson's (of Mammoth Onion fame) showing the origins of many vegetables we grow today. This was a different approach to their usual display which I thought worked well and was fascinating. R.V Rogers' display of fruit was exquisite.
On entering the competition area, there are Dahlias as far as the eye can see of every size, shape, colour and form available to the Dahlia world. Some vases displayed a special extra red ticket, which meant they were being considered for the overall championship across all the competition classes.
Every petal on display was perfect, though at one side of the room were blooms which had been discarded during the setting up process. These were deemed as not quite reaching the appropriate standard for exhibition by the competitors and were on offer to show visitors for a £1 a bunch ('select as many as you like madam') with the proceeds going to charity. I thought this was a nice touch.
The 'plant of the show' as far as its appearance in lots of trolley carts was concerned was Rudbeckia 'Herbstonne' with its stems reaching skywards at well over 4 feet high. Acers were being carried away in large quantities as well. Seasonal Gladioli and Cyclamen had a strong presence too and I was surprised to find there's a competition category for collections of single Gladiolus florets and well as the usual spray vases.
I'd also wondered before the show (being the possessor of a shiny catalogue beforehand) how the National Daffodil Society was going to exhibit in the autumn and of course should have realised it would be using bulbs - durr, silly me ;)
- Come With Me to the World of Giant Veg - my review of a book which tells the story of the people in the UK who grow giant veg. This also has some pics from my first encounter at Malvern Autumn Show, in which I take a picture of Peter Glazebrook without realising it at the time.