Holkham holds annual plant fair

Holkham plant fair. MLNF15PM09217 ANL-150930-114807001
Holkham plant fair. MLNF15PM09217 ANL-150930-114807001
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Thirty exhibitors came together in Holkham Estate’s walled garden at the weekend for the hall’s annual plant fair.

On offer was just about everything for the small gardener.

Bulbs, roses, ornamental trees, garden furniture, ornamental grasses, herbs, compost and even carnivorous plants that can eat up the creepy-crawlies that prey on prize plants and vegetables.

Also on display were olive trees, native to the Mediterranean but, with climate warming, could soon be a feature in English gardens.

But although plants took centre stage there was much more to tempt the keen gardener. Lord and Lama offered tortured and twisted-looking garden seats for the weary.

They were made from the long-lasting, durable roots of teak trees imported from sustainable forests in Indonesia.

Ashley Jenner is in the first year of a new business as what he believes to be the only grower of chillies in Norfolk.

His Norfolk Chilli Farm is based in nearby Sculthorpe. “I’ve got about 200 varieties of chilli from mild and sweet chillies to mouth-burning specimens”.

Growers compete to grow the hottest chilli and currently the record is held by the Carolina Reaper. “When I handle it I need two pairs of latex gloves,” he said.

In one corner Richard Rood, from Walpole St Peter, demonstrated the art of pole lathe turning, a skill that stretches back to the bronze age. The many items turned on his lathe included dibbers, especially useful for those who grow leeks.

There were also masterclass talks by Holkham members who revealed useful gardening tips, and a talk by the Frugal Gardener, Dene Wood, head of private and walled gardens, on gardening on a budget.

For the more exotic, Philip Oldham, head of the landscape Ddepartment, was on hand to demonstrate how to grow and harvest fruits and herbs that can be made into cocktails.

And for disabled gardeners, Newleaf Woodcraft, displayed raised bed for growing vegetables.