Show Gardens at RHS Chatsworth

Visitors to RHS Chatsworth Flower Show are in for a treat says Jean Vernon
This June the very first RHS Chatsworth Flower Show opened it’s gates to visitors. The weather was not very kind, with high winds and torrential rain closing the show on Press Day and creating parking issues for those that braved the elements. For show stalwarts who refused to be repelled, the show offered plenty of fresh and innovative gardens, exhibits and displays. The show gardens were a delight, with a range of Free Form creations, that ducked under the judging radar and some show gardens that would have been just as at home on main avenue at RHS Chelsea.

Dark skies over the fabulous sweeping Jo Thompson design Image: Jean Vernon

Here are five that stood out from the crowd to whet your appetite.

Belmond Enchanted Gardens

Designer: Butter Wakefield

Belmond Enchanted Gardens
Woven willow fencing creates the entrance to the garden. Image: Jean Vernon

Delineated by woven willow in fabulous circles depicting the inclusivity of nature and the rhythm of the changing seasons, this garden is a delight. The entrance is entwined with fragrant climbers. The centrepiece is a spiral staircase creating an enticing invitation to climb up above and within the naturalistic planting. Vegetable beds packed with incredible heritage edibles tantalise the taste buds and tell a story of travel, discovery and creativity, while an armillary sphere sets the pace and adds the concept of time. The soft, evocative planting is wonderful and the woven fencing a true work of art.

www.belmond.com

 

The Brewin Dolphin

Designer: Jo Thompson

Dark skies over the fabulous sweeping Jo Thompson design. Image: Jean Vernon

This is possibly my favourite garden at the show, though it was very hard to capture it on camera. Serpentine beds of perennials weave their way across the landscape towards the river, marked out with a sweeping line of steel reinforcing rods that appear to float above the river. It’s a flow of soft, naturalistic planting of grasses and ferns seasoned with a delightful mix of campanulas, irises and candelabra primulas beneath an occasional canopy of hornbeam and maple. It’s the curves and flow of this garden that work so well against the flow of the river and the dramatic Capability Brown landscape, that make this garden one to linger alongside. Take time to appreciate the soft but inspired planting and the way that it integrates with the almost sculptural effect of the rusted steel rods.

 

Jackie Knight’s Just Add Water

Designer: Jackie Sutton

Jackie Knight's Just Add Water
The soft pink sandstone sits gently in the landscape. Image: Jean Vernon

Chatsworth Flower Show didn’t really need any additional water, but this garden, situated close to the river Derwent and positioned within the historical landscape looked very settled. Described as a colourful and fun water garden, it comes alive with its rain-wet local stone interplanted with alpines and perennials. The soft pink sandstone that features throughout the design has been cut from a ridge that runs from Macclesfield to Derbyshire. It’s a natural, calming space with informal waterside planting and a waterfall tumbling gently over the soft pink hues of the sandstone into a tranquil central pool of water. The hammock, which was swinging in the wind on press day, could be the perfect vantage point to enjoy the views of this garden and the fabulous countryside beyond.

 

Cruse Bereavement Care: ‘A Time for Everything’

Designer: Neil Sutcliffe

Cruse Bereavement Care: A Time for Everything
Dramatic planting contrasts with simple lines
Image: Jean Vernon

The textures and contrasts in this garden are astonishing and yet when you understand the inspiration and message of the space it starts to make sense. This is a garden of emotions and uses a carefully considered planting palette to symbolize the journey taken by those dealing with terminal illness. A mix of mature trees represents the support from consultants and doctors. The rill and stone walling allude to the jolts of memories experienced by families as they struggle to deal with loss in their busy lives. The vibrant planting reflects that life goes on despite our troubles. But the garden offers a reflective place to sit beside bubbling water that rises and falls away to flow down a smooth rill before disappearing beneath the still reflection pool. It’s a beautiful design combining brightly coloured perennials and strong textures and shapes.

 

Moveable Feast

Designer: Tanya Batkin

Moveable Feast
Portable planters enable generation rent to move home with their garden. Image: Jean Vernon

This garden has plenty of food for thought. Designed to highlight and deal with the challenges faced by the generation rent, it provides a garden that can move with the owner. Its modular design in transportable and can be moved around to change the space or adapt another area, but the large yet portable planters allow for a garden that moves as often as you do. When 50% of householders aged between 25 and 35, renting and many landlords paving over gardens to reduce maintenance, this allows renters to have their garden and eat it, as many of the planters are filled with edibles too. Depending on your needs, you can grow ornamentals or fill them with vegetables to create a moveable feast. There’s even an edible shed sporting a range of edibles growing on its roof.

Jean Vernon

About Jean Vernon

Jean Vernon is a slightly quirky, bee friendly, alternative gardener. She doesn’t follow the rules and likes to push the boundaries a bit just to see what happens. She has a fascination for odd plants, especially edibles and a keen interest in growing for pollinators especially bees. She’s rather obsessed with the little buzzers. Telegraph Gardening Correspondent, mostly testing and trialing products and Editor-In-Chief for Richard Jackson’s Garden.
@TheGreenJeanie
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