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Sweet scent of love at Harrogate Flower Sho

20th September 2018

From mandrake root to magnolia blossom the power of love potions has been the stuff of legend for millennia.

Now a new Plants of Pleasure exhibition at this year’s Harrogate Autumn Flower Show will explore the flora used to create the sweet scent of success with suitors.

Renowned as one of the most beautiful women in the ancient world, Egyptian Queen Cleopatra is said to have overwhelmed her Roman admirers, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, with a heady love elixir made from rose petals.

She beguiled them with thick layers of petals strew on the floor of her palace and boudoir. Not only did she bathe in rose water several times a day, but Cleopatra is also said to have drenched the sails of her royal barge until, in the words of Shakespeare, “the very winds were lovesick.” They may have been hard-hearted, all-conquering generals but they never stood a chance!

Show Director Nick Smith said: “Most people think of a love potion as something you would slip into your suitor’s food or drink, but perfume is an incredibly powerful influencer, particularly in the ancient world where life was not always very fragrant!

“Indeed, a recent study has scientifically linked a particular jasmine-magnolia perfume with the same pheromone responsible for stirring our senses and emotions.”

The spectacular love-themed display is being designed and built in the Plant Nursery Pavilion by a group of Yorkshire flower growers promoting British cut flowers.

Other plants of pleasure include vines, depicted by Harewood-based florists Leafy Couture, and special chocolate garden created by Ripon designer Helen Hays, Harrogate landscaper Nick Fryer and Chef-Chocolatier Ashley McCarthy.

Staged at the Great Yorkshire Showground from 14 – 16 September 2018, Harrogate Flower Show is Britain’s premier autumn gardening event.

Attractions this year also include a special bicentenary tribute to the man who coined the phrase ‘landscape gardener’. Known as The Great Improver, Humphry Repton redesigned the gardens of over 400 stately homes and is famous for the ‘before and after’ red books he created for each client.

The show also features over 5,000 beautiful autumn blooms in Britain’s biggest exhibition by specialist gardening groups and, of course, a world-famous giant vegetable competition.

Tickets available each day on the gate: Fri & Sat: £20, Sun: £18.50. Under 16s FREE when accompanied by an adult. PARKING IS FREE. Visit