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What’s in store at the first RHS Chatsworth Flower Show

PUBLISHED: 00:00 15 May 2017

Visitors look at garden with Digitalis Purpurea in the foreground at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015 Photo: RHS/Georgi Mabee

Visitors look at garden with Digitalis Purpurea in the foreground at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015 Photo: RHS/Georgi Mabee


Stunning displays and creativity are high on the list for the new RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, 7th-11th June 2017

Lee Bestall's design for the Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire show garden at RHS Chatsworth Flower ShowLee Bestall's design for the Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire show garden at RHS Chatsworth Flower Show

With over 65,000 tickets already sold, we can confidently predict that green-fingered folk will be flocking to Chatsworth for its first-ever Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Flower Show, sponsored by Wedgwood, from 7th-11th June. A spectacular line-up has been announced that will appeal both to avid gardeners in search of inspiration and those who simply love to look at beautiful blooms and are keen to enjoy what will be a wonderful occasion.

The Show Gardens are always a main attraction at RHS Flower Shows, allowing some of the world’s top designers to showcase their skill, flair and imagination and highlight the latest trends. There will be eight main gardens, ranging from ‘Moveable Feast’ (a ‘flexible urban oasis’ that can easily be relocated if its owner decides to move), a Modernist-influenced design using tubular steel and a restricted planting palette from Agriframes and the contemporary IQ Quarry Garden, which takes inspiration from the life cycle of a quarry coupled with Brutalist architecture. ‘Cruse Bereavement Care: A Time for Everything’ (an exploration of the journey and experiences of illness), ‘Jackie Knight’s Just Add Water’ with a tranquil central pool and stream designed to entice wildlife, and Belmond Enchanted Gardens, which features naturalistic planting with a wildflower meadow are three more, while official tourist board Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, together with Hope Cement, The Camping and Caravanning Club and Wheeldon Trees Holiday Cottages are sponsoring the final show garden, which is entitled ‘Experience Peak District & Derbyshire’. It will be built by Sheffield-based JPH Landscapes and has been designed by Lee Bestall. Award-winning designer Lee, whose business Bestall & Co is based at Renishaw Hall, has used the fabulous landscapes and formal gardens of the area’s many historic houses as his inspiration in a simple, yet striking design. Rough grass, native trees and hand-painted cows representing the area’s landscape lead through to a formal clipped topiary and herbaceous planting. Lee trained at RHS Wisley and was selected by Kevin McCloud as the first-ever Grand Designs ‘Garden Designer of the Year’. He designed award-winning gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2015 and 2016, and he and his team are also preparing for their first-ever large show garden at Chelsea in 2017.

A first for this Show is the Free Form category. This has captured the imagination of exhibitors and designers by inviting them to explore the connection between plants, sculpture and art and showcase visually arresting installations and sculptures – something which will set RHS Chatsworth Flower Show apart from other gardening events. Amongst these gardens are: ‘Behind the scenes’ with a key feature of two large hands made of hay planting an English oak; a ‘whimsical and surreal contemporary baroque garden of excess’; an independent student-led project by the School of Art, Architecture and Design at Leeds Beckett University entitled ‘Path of Least Resistance’; ‘Curves and Cube’ by Gaze Burvill and David Harber; the ‘Antithesis of Sarcophagi’, a garden inside a sculpture; and ‘The Brewin Dolphin Garden’ designed by one of the country’s leading garden designers, Jo Thompson, which will follow the shape of the River Derwent as it sweeps through the centre of the Showground with naturalistic planting and an imposing contemporary sculpture cantilevering dramatically out over the water.

The River Derwent has also inspired the creation of a series of bridges that will link both sides of the show. One bridge, designed by museum and exhibition designer Mathew Saxon, will take the form of an historic Palladian bridge and as visitors enter they will be taken on a floral journey by local celebrity florist Jonathan Moseley.

Sketch of the Palladian bridge design at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show Image: RHSSketch of the Palladian bridge design at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show Image: RHS

If all this isn’t enough to make you rush to try to get one of the remaining tickets, other highlights include an artisan food market and kitchen theatre; a schools competition to create a Bug Hotel on the theme ‘Celebrating inspiring architecture: past, present and future’; a college design competition to create a garden for a changing climate and an RHS Climate Change Garden; a well dressing competition; a heritage crafts section with dry stone walling, willow weaving, basket making and lathe turning; and superb sections for shopaholics consisting of horticultural products and exclusive lifestyle products. Many exhibitors are from Derbyshire, including Baslow Pottery, botanical artist Cheryl Wilbraham, stained glass artist Dave Griffin, On A Wick and A Prayer and the Nursery from Tissington, and Ashbourne’s Pachacuti – regular exhibitors at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Then last but by no means least, and what will be for many the centrepiece of the show, is the floral marquee – a special reproduction of Paxton’s Great Conservatory with a giant 14-metre high dome at its heart, which will contain displays by 76 leading nurseries and growers with three special areas of interest: Connoisseur (selling curious, collectible and intriguing plants); Cut Flower Garden; and Edibles.

RHS Director of Shows, Nick Mattingley, says: ‘We have been focusing on creating an exciting, life-enhancing, vibrant show that is different from any other.’ June can’t come soon enough!

RHS Chatsworth Flower Show (7-11th June)

7th June RHS members only; 7–10th 10am-6.30pm

11th June 10am–5pm. To book tickets 0844 995 9664 or

Ticket prices range from £21.50 to £39.


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