When you mention the RHS and autumn in the same breath, it’s impossible not to conjure images of flower shows and the golden, red and orange colouring of the trees. While the Society is rightfully synonymous with the floral side of things, it is among this intimidating reputation that their involvement in the agricultural side, aside from a research heavy role, can become lost. As such, this piece details the fun and interesting goings on at this year’s RHS London Harvest Festival Show, which is the epitome of all the seasonal labours coming to fruition near the year’s conclusion.
One of the returning features at this year’s edition is the Giant Pumpkin competition, which welcomes growers from all over the country to measure their largest and heaviest pumpkins against the professionals, in the hopes of winning a grand prize of £1000.
A new theme to be introduced to the show, however, and not unjustly considering its situation at the Horticultural Halls, Westminster in the heart of the metropolis, is the idea of domestic horticulture within an urban environment. The edgily entitled ‘This is not an Allotment’, focuses on alternative methods of growing, rather than the more orthodox school of thought that frankly just isn’t practical in the confines of urban living.
As always there will the apple tasting venue, which unsurprisingly focuses on guests’ ability to identify different types of the fruit, based solely on taste and appearance.
This will then feed into the identification aspect of the ‘Foraging Forum’, which has been newly established in order to provide a stage from which people can dispense what knowledge they have of wilderness survival, particularly the search for edible food, which is further enforced by these tasting sessions though in a somewhat more passive respect!
Finally, and perhaps most excitingly, we have the actual harvest side of things. This year’s late openings include the opportunity to feast on some of the finest produce that the RHS has to offer, as well as a second chance to sample and purchase some stock for the burners at home.
October 9th’s late start has been declared a necessity due to the unprecedented appearance of the RHS’ own brand cider derived directly from the Wisley orchard, not to mention the vegetable orchestra which, as the name would suggest, will regale onlookers with veggie bound music until evening’s close.
By Josh Ellison