2019 RHS Chatsworth Flower Show - photo special

PUBLISHED: 00:00 29 July 2019

Woodland theme for the RHS letters, designed by local Jonathan Moseley

Woodland theme for the RHS letters, designed by local Jonathan Moseley

joy hales

The banks of the Derwent below Chatsworth House were thronged with people as thousands arrived to enjoy a vibrant event that was jam-packed with lovely things to look at and purchase, inspiring ideas to try at home and a wonderful atmosphere.

A host of landscapers, gardeners and nurseryman had transformed the site for the third RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, partnered by Wedgwood, creating bridges and pathways and erecting a massive floral marquee, together with lecture theatres, a surrounding village of stands, a bandstand and numerous places to relax and soak up the atmosphere.

This year's youngest garden designer, Jamie Butterworth, made history with the Wedgwood Show Garden by taking all four top awards - a brilliant celebration in the 260th year of the company. Inspired by RHS founder John Wedgwood's vision of using the power of horticulture and plants to connect people and unite communities, the garden perfectly connected lovely design elements with over two thousand stunning plants and was awarded a coveted RHS gold medal, Best in Show, Best Construction Award and the People's Choice Award. The garden is to be relocated to the World of Wedgwood in Barlaston. Other show gardens included the RHS Garden 'Wild Woven', which featured a superb pond and showcased numerous attractive wildlife habitats that could easily and advantageously be incorporated into any back garden. Derby College's 'Find Yourself Lost in the Moment', designed by Samantha Harvey, won a silver award, cleverly interpreting its message about the physical and mental health benefits of volunteer gardening with a spiral path and airy informal planting. The BBC Regional Gardens triumphantly realised the winning designs in the competitions held by Radios Stoke, Sheffield and Derby, while designers had let creativity run riot in the five small Mindfulness Gardens - 'Space Within', which featured a moon gate covered by a wonderful scented star jasmine, was awarded Best Mindfulness Garden. Neil Sutcliffe of Nottinghamshire gained a gold medal for 'Eutierria' his garden on the theme of reconnecting with nature. The Long Borders, launched last year, proved popular with 15 entries, showing just how you much you can achieve in a small space and handing a great opportunity to budding horticulturists. Seven gold medals were awarded, with the title of Best Long Border going to Derbyshire designer Victoria Philpott for 'The Bess of Hardwick Border'.

The decision to have one massive packed floral marquee this year proved inspirational with stunning, colourful displays from 70 expert growers beneath one roof - 32 gold medals were awarded. The Best Exhibit award and gold went to Derbyshire-based Bluebell Arboretum and Nursery who had produced a superb display of unusual trees and shrubs that included a beautiful deep-pink cornus kousa. Derbyshire Bonsai and Eagle Sweet Peas both followed up on their gold medal wins at RHS Chelsea Flower Show and Tissington Nursery was awarded silver-gilt.

left: The glorious setting for RHS Chatsworth Flower Show 2019 on the banks of the Derwentleft: The glorious setting for RHS Chatsworth Flower Show 2019 on the banks of the Derwent

Children from the area's schools had filled upcycled planters with colourful blooms and the local tradition of well dressing was well represented by 1st Whitwell Scout and Guide Group, Over Haddon, Tideswell, Etwall and Holymoorside . There were craft demonstrations of pole lathe turning by Peter Wood, heritage basket making by Maggie Cooper, and Peak District 3D expert and designer Simon Mabey had created an intriguing interactive experience of floating through a meadow. Exhibits by dry stone wallers, Derbyshire beekeepers, a walk-through floral immersion feature exploring the new wave of artisan floristry, and an excellent programme of talks and demonstrations were just a few of the other highlights. Then there was also a vast range of enticing plants and products to buy, a variety of delicious food and drink to try... and all to the accompaniment of music from entertainers performing on the two stages around the showground.

From the colourful mass planting of dahlias as you arrived to the impressive Power of Trees feature when you'd come full circle, the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show achieved its aim of encouraging visitors to engage the five senses - to touch, listen, see, smell and taste. It seems a glorious way to celebrate the natural beauty of gardens and of Derbyshire. In just three years the Show has become not only a highlight of the regional gardening calendar but nationally an event that shouldn't be missed.

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