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Gardeners -don’t miss this huge Suffolk plant sale

PUBLISHED: 13:04 14 March 2020

The Plant Fair and Artisan Market at Helmingham Hall  Picture: Amanda Clowe, Wildcarrot Photography

The Plant Fair and Artisan Market at Helmingham Hall Picture: Amanda Clowe, Wildcarrot Photography

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Tickets are available now for one of Suffolk’s biggest and best garden fairs.

The Plant Fair and Artisan Market at Helmingham Hall  Picture: Amanda Clowe, Wildcarrot PhotographyThe Plant Fair and Artisan Market at Helmingham Hall Picture: Amanda Clowe, Wildcarrot Photography

That time has come around again. The time to get out into the garden properly, assessing where to dig in your summer bulbs, how many bedding plants are needed to fill in the gaps, and to begin the joyous task of making up hanging baskets and containers.

But stop, before you hit the garden centres, pencil in a visit to Helmingham Hall's Spring Plant Fair and Artisan Market.

The hugely popular and ever-growing event is held twice a year, attracting visitors from across the region, and bringing together some of East Anglia's very best nurseries, growers and plant specialists - all in one spot.

The spring event is set to take place on May 24 from 10am to 5pm at the gloriously moated Helmingham Hall, with admission including access to the grounds, where you can explore the blossoming rose garden, knot garden, orchard walk and more.

The Plant Fair and Artisan Market at Helmingham Hall  Picture: Amanda Clowe, Wildcarrot PhotographyThe Plant Fair and Artisan Market at Helmingham Hall Picture: Amanda Clowe, Wildcarrot Photography

Visitors clamour to be first through the gates to get their mitts on the biggest, best specimens, so arrive early.

Don't forget, the first 800 people to enter will, as ever, receive a free plant. This year it's the Erigeron glaucus 'Sennon'. Native to the USA's west coast, this cultivar is thought to originate in Cornwall's Sennon Cove. It's usually at home growing along dunes and beaches and produces low-growing stems with spoon-shaped leaves.

The Garden Zone

The Plant Fair and Artisan Market at Helmingham Hall  Picture: Amanda Clowe, Wildcarrot PhotographyThe Plant Fair and Artisan Market at Helmingham Hall Picture: Amanda Clowe, Wildcarrot Photography

As already mentioned, the fair attracts numerous nurseries from around the east of England, as well as hobbyists and specialist growers. You'll find everything from fuchsias and elegant malmaison carnations, to bog plants, roses, cacti, ferns, alpines, perennials and trees.

Locally grown National Plant Collections will be onsite too, alongside the Suffolk Plant Heritage propagation group, selling rare plants and giving advice on how to grow and register them.

Garden Marquee

Make this one of your first points of call, to find out the timings of the day's talks. The marquee is also hosting 'plant doctors' giving advice on many topics, as well identifying your mystery plants - so bring them along.

Conservation Zone

Local and national societies and charities will be out in force with advice on plants, gardening and attracting wildlife.

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Artisan Market

A huge draw to the event, asides from plants, is its market, spanning everything from crafts and gifts to food. A foodie area will keep you refreshed throughout the morning and afternoon (don't forget the hall's tearoom and iec cream shop are open too) while there's also dancing with Chocks Away Vintage, live music and children's activities in this area.

Artisan stalls include Yum Yum Tree Fudge, with their delicious, naturally-flavoured fudge, Acorn Forge (fire bowls, wood burning stoves and metal art), The Ruby Grace Candle Co (natural plant wax based candles in reusable pots), and Garden in Glass (bespoke terrariums).

Take a tour

Chelsea gold medal winner Lady Tollemache will be taking a group of visitors for a tour around her gardens. Numbers are limited and booking is recommended. The tour begins at midday and costs an additional £12. Call 01473 890799 to book.

Entry to the event is £8 for adults and free for children. Parking is free and well-behaved dogs on leads are also welcome. Tickets can be bought in advance at the Helmingham Hall website or will be available on the day - cash only.

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