But ever since gardening first turned “sexy” all sorts of festivals have sprung up to cater for the apparently insatiable demand for green-fingered days out. And when every summer weekend was stuffed, they overflowed into autumn as well, which is ideal for anyone who fancies a late gardening escape. Autumn gardening events are great fun. You can dress up, dress down or simply turn up as you are. And if it rains – well, every gardener has wellies in the back of the car – it’s just like Glastonbury with greenery.
The great thing about late shows and festivals is the relaxed, end-of-term atmosphere you will find.
Gone is the pressure of early shows where exhibitors worry in case duff weather stops their flowers blooming on time, or the intensity of national events bent on showing all the trends for the year and unveiling hitherto unseen plants in a blaze of publicity.
At late shows all you find are fellow plant-lovers pottering round enjoying themselves, chatting with nurserymen, asking advice, admiring the plants and making lots of delightful purchases.
Shows are a great place to find small, specialist nurseries based in far-flung places which gather conveniently under one roof (or at least in the same field) so it is easy to stock up on plants you cannot easily get your hands on at home.
What is more, you can take anything you buy back to the car and return for more shopping, or simply park your purchases in the plant crèche until you are ready to go home.
A late-season show comes as a great treat, like out-of-season strawberries.
It’s a brilliant place to meet gardening friends, take a picnic lunch and enjoy the other attractions at your leisure, knowing you won’t face a backlog of unfinished jobs in your garden.
For me one last jolly good show is the perfect way to round off another great gardening season.