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RHS Chatsworth 2018 installations

Stilt walkers at the inaugral RHS Chatsworth Flower Show 2017. Picture; RHS/Sirastudio
Stilt walkers at the inaugral RHS Chatsworth Flower Show 2017. Picture; RHS/Sirastudio

A left-field look at garden design

Eight thought-provoking installations are on show at RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, which runs from June 6-10.

The new category seeks to encourage freedom of expression through sculptural design and there are no medals awarded.

The installations are dotted across the 1,000-acre Chatsworth Estate at various focal points and to complement the five show gardens.

RHS Chatsworth Flower Show Manager Liz Patterson said: “From a giant ‘radioactive’ foxglove to a sculpted timepiece and an iconic symbol of the English landscape, there’s certainly food for thought.”

Holocene. Picture; RHS


Designer: Ann-Margreth Bohl. Named after the current geological epoch, the installation is a timepiece, similar to Stonehenge. Large sculpted and carved stone blocks sit on raw dug earth, casting a complex pattern of shadows.

Some blocks have carved, in deep relief, the outline of shadows that fall on them at a precise moment.

Digitalis Gargantua. Picture; RHS
Digitalis Gargantua. Picture; RHS

Digitalis Gargantua

Designer: Aimee Lax. Reflecting the designer’s fear and fascination of human effects on the natural world, Aimee has made a gigantic version of a radioactive foxglove.

The 4m flower references claims of huge vegetables grown by Japanese gardeners in Fukushima.

Blue Concrete Country. Picture; RHS
Concrete Country in Red. Picture; RHS

Concrete Country in Red

Designer: Lucy Tomlins. Celebrating stiles, this is the final instalment in a three-part sculpture series that represents the freedom and restriction of movement in the English landscape. It is 3m tall and constructed from rusted corten steel.

Garland Necklace. Picture; RHS
Garland Necklace. Picture; RHS

Garland Necklace

Designer: Owen Bullett. This 5m diameter ring of brightly decorated, huge wooden ‘boulders’ is inspired by the leis offered as gifts to visitors on faraway islands and the pleasure of making daisy chains.

The triumphal arch also celebrates the Devonshire Collection and history of the RHS in supporting horticulture across the world.

The Brewin Dolphin Garden. Picture; RHS
The Brewin Dolphin Garden. Picture; RHS

The Brewin Dolphin Garden

Sponsor: Wedgwood, designer: Paul Hervey-Brookes. A conceptual garden that echoes a lost village that once stood in the shadows of Chatsworth House before being removed by Capability Brown.

A timber pavilion pays homage to the village and sculptures at different heights represent the silhouettes of people who have passed through the landscape.

Jekka McVicar will grow eight varieties of medicinal plants and food crops that would have been grown when the foundations of Chatsworth House were laid. Planting: Verbascum, Buxus, Reseda and copper beeches trees.

Keeping It Under My Hat. Picture; RHS
Keeping It Under My Hat. Picture; RHS

Keeping It Under My Hat

Designer: James Alexander-Sinclair. A perfect little English garden consisting of topiary, roses and perennials is set around an intimate seating area concealed beneath a bowler hat.

The hat lifts and gives a fleeting glimpse of the tiny garden every few minutes.

Wedgwood: Emergence. Picture; RHS
Wedgwood: Emergence. Picture; RHS

Wedgwood: Emergence

Sponsor: Wedgwood, designer: Carl Hardman. Wedgwood and Chatsworth have a shared history dating back to the 18th century and this installation celebrates the joint heritage.

A dry stone echoes the course of the river and is dissected by a glass fin representing the glass panels of Joseph Paxton’s Great Conservatory completed in 1840.

Picture This

Designer: Sarah Eberle with support from Lee Bestall. A traditional gilt picture frame, almost four metres in length, surrounds tropical planting and exotic animal sculptures.

For more information on the show, visit www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chatsworth-flower-show.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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