RHS Chatsworth preview

Newest gardening show in stately Peak District surroundings

Chatsworth House
Chatsworth House. Picture; Chatsworth House Trust/RHS Media Collection

The Chelsea Flower Show may be almost over but there is no let up in the gardening events calendar, with the RHS’s new show at Chatsworth running from June 7-11.

Set in the grounds of Chatsworth House, the show offers the opportunity to relax on the banks of the River Derwent and enjoy one of the UK’s most spectacular stately homes.

The theme for the show, partnered by Wedgwood, is Design Revolutionaries, inspired by the fact that Chatsworth has attracted thinkers who have made their mark on its landscape – including William Talman, Joseph Paxton and ‘Capability’ Brown.

On the 43-acre site are the RHS feature garden, eight show gardens, eight freeform gardens, 186 trade and lifestyle stands, 88 floral marquee and plant village nurseries, six show features and 38 Great Taste exhibitors, as well as community participants for bug hotels, well dressing and Perfect for Pollinator containers.

RHS judges will present awards to show gardens, floral marquee exhibitors, plant village, and trade stands exhibitors. FreeForm installations are open to an online public choice award, and Well Dressing displays can be voted for at the show.

Three temporary bridges will be installed to span the river Derwent, one of which is more than 40m long.

To get there, the show is located at Chatsworth, Bakewell, Derbyshire DE45 1PP or visit www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chatsworth-flower-show for more information.

Chatsworth is in the Peak District, north of Derby, and south of Sheffield. If you are travelling using a satnav, use the postcode DE45 1PN.


Chatsworth Show Gardens

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Moveable Feast: Designer, Tanya Batkin
This garden provides a contemporary solution for renters – a garden that moves with its owner. Over half of the garden will be made up of edible or medicinal plants, to include salad crops, edible flowers, and fruit, for example, Levisticum officinale, Allium schoenoprasum, Foeniculum vulgare and Malus.

Experience Peak District & Derbyshire Garden: Designer, Lee Bestall
The garden is inspired by the historic houses and gardens of Derbyshire and the Peak District. A central mown path leads through rough grass inspired by the fields of Derbyshire. Peppered with native trees and hand painted cows that were inspired by the comments of Sir George Sitwell at Renishaw Hall when he remarked that blue stencilled white cows would ‘give distinction to the landscape’.

The Agriframes Garden: Designers, Melinda Thomas and Fleur Porter
The garden has a modernist influence and is inspired by the way in which Marcel Breuer of the Bauhaus school embraced the development of tubular steel, expressed in clean simple lines, trees, pools of water and a restricted planting palette. A pergola, that subtly changes in style
and shape, as the visitor walks through it, leads from the entrance to an open area of lawned garden, with more colourful, mixed planting.

Cruse Bereavement Care: ‘A Time for Everything’: Designer, Neil Sutcliffe
The garden’s primary message is to highlight the journey and experiences of terminal illness and passing from the perspective of the individual and loved ones. The garden has a contrast of styles and materials that mix the old and new, classic and contemporary, smooth and uncomfortable. The contemporary and vibrant planting highlights that life around us never really slows, yet at the same time it will be a reflective place to sit.

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IQ Quarry Garden: Designer, Paul Hervey-Brooks
A contemporary garden design taking inspiration from the life cycle of a quarry coupled with Brutalism architecture. The garden is divided into sections so that bountiful floral and naturalistic planting contrasting with other more severe and uncompromising aspects of the garden designed to reflect the Brutalist architectural inspiration.

Jackie Knight’s Just Add Water: Designer, Jackie Sutton
Natural and calming as the water tumbles over pink sandstone rocks into a tranquil central pool and stream with waterside planting in an informal style. A central paved area is reached by crossing a stepping stone path over the water, edged with informal planting.

Belmond Enchanted Gardens: Designer, Butter Wakefield
The Belmond Enchanted and the garden is intended a place with soul, where time stands still to create a sense of adventure, reflection, and celebration, with naturalistic planting, trees and hedgerows give way to a purposeful, productive space planted with herbs, vegetables of provenance, and flowers for cutting.


Freeform gardens

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Behind the Scenes: Designers, Barbara Negretti Garden Design & Elisa Tomat Garden Design
The theme is showcasing the importance and contribution of gardener’s manual work in every successful garden. The key features are two big hands made of hay in the gesture of planting a tree (an English Oak). Wildflowers have been chosen in honour of Chatsworth’s farming tradition.

Pic ‘n’ Mix: A Garden Grotesque for 2017: Designer, Heywood & Condie FRBS
This garden is a symbolic ‘landscape portrait’ for our anxious times. Moving away from the traditional ideal of the bucolic landscape, their vision is of a trashier garden aesthetic where the fake, the real and the synthetic collide. It is a Garden Grotesque for our unsettled world.

Path of Least Resistance: Designers, Francesca Tomany and Zuzanna Golczyk
This is an independent student-led project from The Leeds Beckett School of Art, Architecture, and Design, promoting sustainable gardens of the future, specifically highlighting the strength and versatility of plants found on post-industrial urban wastelands.

Curves and Cube: Designer, Gaze Burvill, and David Harber
The deconstructed statement Cube is an organic lattice of steel, juxtaposed with the ever-present force of nature as curving oak pieces pierce through its core. The curved seating echoes the
snaking river of the site.

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The Brewin Dolphin Garden: Designer, Jo Thompson
Modern industrial materials are combined with naturalistic planting. Central to the design is an imposing contemporary sculpture crafted from reinforcing steel bars, taking in the shape of the river before cantilevering dramatically out over the water. At one end, field maples and hornbeams create a glade surrounded by meadow. At the other, an ornamental garden with a soft pastel palette of blues, pinks, and apricot will contrast with the patina of the steel sculpture.

The Wordless Cupboard: Designer, Sheena Seeks
A landslide of glacial boulders leans against a 3-metre high twin cube structure. Blank sheets of paper float in the narrow space between the cubes, the narrowest point of which is bridged by a 3-metre tall acrylic panel. The angled position of the blocks creates a tension as the blocks could be pushing inwards or equally be being pushed apart.

The Aspire and Achieve Foundation Garden, The Good Within: Designers, Guy Taylor Associates, Matthew Fountain

The sculpture appearing above the roofline is intended as a light that encourages us to look beyond the exterior as it is inside that the true spirit of the person is found, represented by blossoming and vibrant planting.

The Marble and Granite Centre – Antithesis of Sarcophagi: Designers, Martin Cook and Gary Breeze
Antithesis of Sarcophagi represents a world turned inside out; a garden inside a sculpture; desolation versus life; civilisation versus nature – and you’ll recognise it if you went to Chelsea last year! This is captured in a 44-tonne rough granite cube containing a rejuvenating woodland which is only visible through small fissures.


Well dressing

Example of well dressing
Example of well dressing

Five groups will showcase their well dressing skills at RHS Chatsworth – Ashford Women’s Institute, Buxton Well Dressing, Burton Closes Hall and Bakewell AJ Welldressing, Chesterfield Town Pump Group and Tideswell Well Dressers.

Well dressing is an age-old custom unique to the Peak District and Derbyshire, which is thought to date back to Roman and Celtic times when communities would dress wells to give thanks for fresh water supplies.

The tradition continues in scores of towns and villages between May and September when everyone pitches in to create living art installations made from flower petals and other natural materials.

Liz Patterson of the RHS Shows Team said: “We have selected five well dressing entries to display at the show, giving visitors the opportunity to vote for their favourite.

“We received some really exciting designs and concepts, and can’t wait to see the finished product. We are sure our visitors will love it and plan that this becomes a regular feature at the show.”

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