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Garden expertise and inspiration at the BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair

by | 23 Aug 22 | News

Audley End in Saffron Walden – one of England’s grandest mansions and in the care of English Heritage – will open its gardens, grounds and house to thousands of keen gardeners next month for the launch of BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair (Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th September). 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, and 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 award-winning designer, Kim Parish (Landscapes of Distinction), in just 16 hours.

If veg growing 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 maintain 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.

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. A 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.

Tickets for the BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair include full access to Audley End House, grounds and gardens. Buying in advance is the best way to avoid disappointment with advance adult prices starting from £18.00, or £9.50 for English Heritage adult members. Tickets will also be available on the day.

Find out more and book tickets at

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