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Pleasure garden will be chocablock with inspiration

4th September 2018

Imagine the perfect garden…then imagine if the spectacular centrepiece was made from real chocolate!

This year’s autumn theme for the Harrogate Flower Show celebrates plants that have given us pleasure for millennia. From chocolate and coffee to wine and vines the show will explore the origins of the flora so often said to be naughty, but nice.

Among the Plants of Pleasure displays will be a special chocolate garden, showcasing sumptuous, dark planting on the outside and working towards a rich, gooey centre of real chocolate plants and flowers, complete with a chocolate fountain.

Created by Ripon designer Helen Hays, Harrogate landscaper Nick Fryer and York Chef-Chocolatier Ashley McCarthy, the garden is a playful horticultural tribute to a human obsession with all things cacao that has thrived for thousands of years.

Show Director Nick Smith said: “Many of the things that give us pleasure today stem from plant discoveries made so long ago that we take them for granted. We thought it would be both interesting and fun for our visitors to explore the horticultural heritage of some of the plants and their bi-products we love so much.”

The chocolate heart of The Tempered Garden will take Ashley McCarthy approximately 30 days and 30kg of dark Belgian chocolate to make. It will comprise flowers and plants, but will also include other elements of the Plants of Pleasure theme, such as grapes and vines.

Owner of Ye Old Sun Inn at Colton, near York, Ashley has been working with chocolate for 14 years and specialises in centre piece sculptures.

Ashley McCarthy said: “Chocolate definitely comes high on the list of guilty pleasures, so to have a whole garden with beautiful flowers on the outside and real chocolate in the centre sounds like many people’s idea of heaven!”

Staged at the Great Yorkshire Showground from 14 – 16 September, Harrogate Flower Show is the UK’s premier autumn gardening event, offering everything to create the perfect plot, plus spectacular plant nursery displays, live entertainment and great garden shopping.

Also new for 2018 is a special bicentenary tribute to Humphry Repton, the man who invented the term ‘landscape gardener’. An exhibition called The Great Improver will celebrate Repton’s work, made famous by the ground-breaking, before and after Red Books he created to illustrate his landscape make-overs.
This year the show also hosts the National Vegetable Society’s UK championships alongside its annual display of pristine produce and world-famous giant vegetable show.

Tickets: Fri & Sat: £20.00 on the gate, £17.50 when purchased by Tuesday 4 September 2018. Sun: £18.50 on the gate, £16.00 in advance. Under 16s FREE when accompanied by an adult. PARKING IS FREE. Visit or call 01423 546157.

About Us
Harrogate Flower Shows are organised and run by the North of England Horticultural Society, a leading charity set up in 1911 to support and showcase horticulture in the north. Profits from the shows go back to the charity to help continue its important work in promoting gardening across the region.