The Harrogate Spring and Autumn Flower Shows are the highlights of my gardening year, rated the best horticultural events in the country by Which?.
One of the best things is if you’re planning to buy plants or sundries, you’ll probably cover the cost of your ticket with special show deals.
Take home the latest in design ideas from the show gardens on The Avenue and the Designed to Last gardens, fixing common gardening problems.
A new feature this year is Secret Sheds.
In the Plant Pavilion, nearly 100 specialist nurseries have show bargains to sell, plus eye-catching displays of plants and flowers.
Britain’s biggest exhibition by florists and flower arrangers will be taking place – more than 150 works of art, plus large-scale displays by clubs and colleges.
You will find thousands of high-quality garden products, hand-made crafts, gifts and specialist food at the show. A plant and product crèche is available so that you can drop after you shop!
There are talks and demonstrations on each day – garden chat and advice in the Grow! Theatre, floral art demonstrations, plus food in the Plot to Pot Cookery Theatre and Feast! Food Theatre.
For children, show guide Pod will be back with lots of hands-on fun (under 16s get in free).
For more details and information on the show, visit www.flowershow.org.uk
l Where: The Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG2 8NZ.
l When: Thursday, April 26-Saturday April 28, 9.30am-5.30pm; Sunday, April 29, 9.30am-4.30pm.
l Full price at the gate Thursday-Saturday £21, Sunday £19. Students £10.50, under 16s free.
l Parking: Free.
l Shuttle bus: This leaves every 20 minutes from Harrogate bus station, Station Parade, which is next to the railway station, to and from the showground. There is a charge, no concessions.
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JOBS TO DO THIS WEEKEND
Plant out hardened off sweet peas and tie in if they are tall enough. Provide support with twigs or string or pea netting.
Wait until soil is warm enough before planting potatoes - if grass and weeds are growing, it should be fine. If frost is forecast, protect early, young potato shoots. They’ll need protection even in unheated greenhouses and tunnels, as well as outdoors. Earth them up or cover with newspaper, net curtain or horticultural fleece overnight.
Once soil is warm and still moist, mulch well, to a depth of 6cm/3ins. Use leafmould or home-made compost if possible, to suppress weeds and help retain moisture levels right through the summer.
Start a new lawn from seed. Soil should be moist for sowing, and once sown, seed must be kept watered in dry spells.
Hardy annual seeds can be sown into open ground but wait until you can see weeds growing strongly before sowing.
Take cuttings from young shoots of shrubs. They should be putting on new growth now, and will root easily.
You can still plant herbaceous perennials such as Geranium, Astrantia and Oriental poppies. Check that the plants you buy have strong, green shoots and plant them into well-prepared soil.
Divide clumps of herbaceous perennials that you want to propagate, those that have become too large for their allotted space.
Prune penstemons and other slightly tender plants such as Teucrium and lavender. Make the cuts just above fresh, new shoots.
Apply a general-purpose fertiliser to borders and beds. Take care not to damage emerging shoots, or to burn them with fertiliser.
Place card collars around the stems of brassicas to prevent an attack of cabbage root fly.
Sow pots of herbs such as parsley, coriander and basil.
Cover blossoming fruit trees with sheets of fleece on frosty nights to protect embryo fruit.
Sow seeds of the following if conditions are fine: beetroot, parsnips, turnips, onions, peas and mangetout, broad beans, lettuce and salad leaves, spinach, radish, rocket, mizuna, pak choi, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.