Monster veg and brilliant blooms on display at Harrogate Autumn Flower Show

Barbara Cook, of Knottingley, with the heaviest onion.

Barbara Cook, of Knottingley, with the heaviest onion.

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Brilliant blooms and inspiring plant schemes are among the highlights for visitors to this year’s Harrogate Autumn Flower Show.

This year the event is marking its 40th anniversary and to celebrate Harrogate Gem, a sweet pea has been launched and visitors can wander among plant displays featuring over 5,000 blooms and admire the show’s monster veg.

This year organisers introduced a new championship for a variety of beafsteak tomato called Gigantomo, and with a £1,000 prize up for grabs for the winner of the class, DNA testing was introduced to ensure mammoth entries were the genuine article.

Joe Atherton’s fine specimen tipped the scales at 3lbs 13.9oz and shortly afterwards a sample was taken which will now be tested.

Mr Atherton, from Mansfield, did not break the world record, but is confident he has nothing to fear from the DNA testers who will take about a week to get back with the results.

He said the secret of his success was “dedication and hard work.”

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This year there were 13 monster vegetable classes including the National Heavy Onion Championship, which was won by Barbara Cook, from Knottingley, whose giant onion weighed in at 13lbs 9.5oz.

“It’s great,” she said of the win. “I have won it before though about six years ago.”

The show, at the Great Yorkshire Showground, in Harrogate, continues tomorrow and Sunday and also features flower arranging, demonstrations and ideas for making the most of small front gardens.

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