Garden expertise and inspiration as BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair comes to Audley End

Green-fingered Essex residents will be able to pick up top tips and inspiration at the BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair.

Featuring TV presenters and plant experts, the BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair opens at Audley End House and Gardens on Friday, September 2.

The English Heritage site will be opening its gardens, grounds and house to thousands of keen gardeners for the weekend until Sunday, September 4.

The Autumn Fair, in association with English Heritage, will be a showcase for local gardening expertise, with garden inspiration and glorious plants to browse and buy from nurseries and specialist growers near and far.

If it’s gardening advice you’re after, the Autumn Fair has a host of experts on hand. BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine editor Lucy Hall and her team will be hosting special guests on stage and in conversation in Audley End’s gardens.

BBC Gardeners’ World presenters Adam Frost (Friday), Arit Anderson (Saturday), and Joe Swift (Sunday) will be sharing their vast knowledge.

Adam Frost said: “I’m really looking forward to the new Autumn Fair at Audley End.

“There’s nothing I love more than meeting people who love gardening, whether they’re experienced or just starting out.

“It is a great way to share inspiration and ideas, surrounded by glorious plants and in a location with such a rich gardening history.”

Fellow BBC Two Gardeners’ World presenter Arit Anderson added: “It’s always a privilege to meet and chat with gardening enthusiasts at our BBC Gardeners’ World live events, so I’m really looking forward to the new Autumn Fair at Audley End.

“What a wonderful way to start the autumn season!”

Stage sponsor, Regent Seven Seas Cruise, will be discussing plants, travel and inspirational destinations from around the world with David Hurrion, associate editor of BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine.

Lucy Chamberlain, the resident plant expert for BBC Radio Essex, and Saul Walker will be leading garden tours, and there will be an abundance of nurseries, growers, designers and landscapers on hand.

Visitors will find garden inspiration for small spaces at the Beautiful Borders.

Two borders created by local designers, Catherine McCarthy and Shona Lockheart, plus a third by trainees from English Heritage, will illustrate how a compact space can be packed with autumn colour.

In addition, the Professional Skills Competition, supported by the Association of Professional Landscapers, features three local landscaping firms, AdScapes, Gadd Brothers and TKE Landscapes, who will put their skills to the test to build a competition garden designed by an award-winning designer, Kim Parish, in just 16 hours.

If growing vegetables is your passion, the Autumn Fair is the place to learn about growing mushrooms.

Caley Brothers, a sibling-run business from Sussex, grow oyster mushrooms in a low-tech, sustainable environment on reused coffee grounds.

The family will be presenting workshops – book in advance – and talks on how to grow mushrooms at home, and will be selling growing kits.

In recognition of Audley End’s role as a Heritage Seed Guardian, growing seeds for the national Heritage Seed Library, Garden Organic, who maintains the Library, will present a Potager Garden.

Built by Norfolk-based Teasels Landscapes, the garden will feature a central shed with climbing rose and jasmine, a children’s mud kitchen, container garden and heritage vegetable varieties.

The Garden Organic team will share tips and advice at the ‘In Conversation’ sessions in the Parterre Gardens.

Audley End’s award-winning gardens are set in a landscape designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, who will make a rare ‘appearance’ at the Autumn Fair, hosting garden tours each day.

Today’s head gardener, Louise Ellis, and her team will be giving a rather more up to date account of what’s involved in managing Audley End’s extensive gardens in a series of live talks at the Fair.

Louise said: “We are delighted to be welcoming the BBC Gardeners’ World team to Audley End.

“Many English Heritage members and visitors are keen gardeners, and it is a wonderful opportunity to put on a day out for them with so much on offer.

“We will have a team of experts in our gardens on hand to share practical tips with visitors as well as members of our gardens team being part of the exclusive Plant Expert Tours. It’s going to be a great day out!”

There are plenty of opportunities for shopping, too. Exhibitors, including local nurseries, Leafy Plants from Essex, and Mandy Plants and Peter Beales from Norfolk, plus those from further afield, including lily specialists HW Hyde & Sons from Sussex, and Bean Nurseries from Kent, will be selling a wide range of plants .

The spotlight will shine on vegetables, ferns and Aspidistra, with individual displays and there will also be exhibitors of gardening equipment, containers and pots, accessories, furniture, clothing and more, plus tempting food, drink and treats in the BBC Good Food Market.

Other show features include a tree giveaway by the Woodland Trust, and fun, free activities for children from The Gardens Trust, with a pop-up exhibition about historic parks and gardens.

How to get tickets

Tickets for the BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair include full access to Audley End House and Gardens.

Buying in advance is the best way to avoid disappointment with advance adult prices starting from £18, or £9.50 for English Heritage adult members.

Tickets are selling fast, so to avoid disappointment, visitors are advised to pre-book tickets or to check the website for ticket availability before traveling to Audley End.

Find out more and book tickets at www.bbcgardenersworldfair.com