HARROGATE Autumn Flower Show will be inviting visitors to travel the world in their garden.

A new exhibition tracing the ancestry of many of its most popular plants will form the centre piece for this year’s theme, Postcards from the Hedge.

It will be looking how those plants were brought to our shores by intrepid plant hunters, including fuchsias from South America and camellias from China - not forgetting less welcome invaders, like the Japanese Knotweed, originally brought to enhance borders before becoming an invasive pest.

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The recipe for success in the secretive world of giant vegetables will also be revealed.

British record holder and author, Kevin Fortey, will reveal the tricks of the trade in special talks on how to get started with giant veg to mark the launch of three new classes for novice growers.

Aimed specifically at gardeners who have never won a prize for super-sized specimens, the beginner classes will invite entries for monster marrows, tremendous tomatoes and rambling runner beans.

Local council officer Kevin Fortey, from Cwmbran, South Wales, started growing giant veg as a young boy alongside his father. Now 39, Kevin and his family hold the British records for the heaviest marrow (77.56kg), bell pepper (560g) and field pumpkin (72kg).

He added: “Growing giant veg can be fascinating, rewarding and frustrating all at the same time. I learned alongside my late father, Mike, and am now passing on the knowledge to my son, Jamie. It is great to see novice classes being introduced at a major show like Harrogate because, despite the cloak and dagger reputation, we would all like to see new growers trying their hand at giant veg.”

Kevin will be giving talks on getting started with giant veg at 11am on Friday, September 15 and Saturday, September 16. At 1pm on Saturday he will turn from one of the most traditional garden pastimes to one of the most modern, with a talk on growing veg the hydroponic way.

The three day event runs from Friday to Sunday. Tickets for Friday and Saturday’s show are £18 on the gate and £16.50 on Sunday. Under-16s are free.