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BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair comes to Audley End House and Gardens

The three-day BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair is coming to Audley End House and Gardens near Saffron Walden next weekend.

The event, from Friday to Sunday (September 1-3) and in association with English Heritage, will offer seasonal garden inspiration, expert tips and advice, fun workshops and plants to browse and buy.

Showcase gardens will be packed with creative designs, planting features and autumn colour.

Gardeners' World stars are coming to Audley End
Gardeners' World stars are coming to Audley End

Lucy Chamberlain, head gardener at East Donyland Hall near Colchester and one of the fair’s plant experts, has designed the organic, wildlife-friendly Edible Garden Through Time with Audley End kitchen gardeners Gemma Sturges and Kelly Fowler.

Val Christman, a BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair 2022 Gold award-winning designer from Widford, has designed Child’s Play, an autism-inspired children’s garden.

Children from St Andrew’s CE Primary School in North Weald have designed a nature and wellbeing Sensory Adventure Garden, which will be relocated at the school afterwards.

Gardeners' World Autumn Fair is coming to Audley End
Gardeners' World Autumn Fair is coming to Audley End

The head gardener at Downing College Cambridge, Jack Sharp, and his team have designed Rest to Follow Your Path, highlighting the importance of gardens as supportive spaces for positive mental and physical health. It will become a permanent feature at the college after the show.

Also from Cambridge, award-winning dahlia grower Kim O’Brien’s Life-Force Garden is inspired by water moving through hollow dahlia stems, signifying the similarities between plant systems and the human body.

On Friday, Gardeners’ World presenter Frances Tophill will share seasonal gardening tips with the Gardeners’ World Magazine team at the BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Stage and in conversation with Chris Bavin in Audley End’s restored parterre gardens, followed by fellow presenters Arit Anderson on Saturday and Adam Frost on Sunday.

Local professional landscaping companies will take on the Association of Professional Landscapers’ Skills Competition to build a show garden in just 16.5 hours, putting their technical skills, talent and teamwork to the test under the watchful eye of expert assessors.

The Let’s Grow talks area, hosted by Lucy Chamberlain and Chris Bavin, will offer expert advice on all things grow-your-own, from allotment gardening to apple pressing and keeping chickens. Guest speakers include Ade Sellars, Chris Collins, Lee Connelly, Matt Oliver and urban smallholder Sara Ward.

Plant experts will be hosting tours of Audley End’s organic Kitchen Garden and there are historical tours of the Palladian mansion's unique Capability Brown landscape.

There will also be daily mushroom growing workshops with Caley Brothers to book in advance, dahlia bouquet-making sessions with Kim O’Brien to book on the day and a daily ‘sow and grow along’ with Great Dunmow flower grower Cara Thompson.

Specialist growers, nurseries and retailers will be offering a wide range of seasonal plants, gardening kit, tools and accessories, with a plant creche for bag-free shopping.

There will be refreshments to buy at the BBC Good Food Market and bandstand entertainment.

Advance adult prices for the fair start from £15.30 (concessions £13.80), or £11.50 for English Heritage members (£10.30 concessions). To find out more and book tickets, see www.bbcgardenersworldfair.com.

Rachel Poletti-Gadd said: “There’s no finer place to celebrate the start of autumn than at Audley End, the spectacular setting for the BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair.

"Where better to enjoy a wonderful day out with seasonal gardening inspiration, expert advice, plants galore, delicious food and drink and all of Audley End’s attractions to explore! We can’t wait to welcome visitors along to this very special event.”

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