Show season is in full swing in the gardening world, and today sees the gates open at RHS Chatsworth Flower Show in Derbyshire. I went along yesterday for a sneak peak at what’s on offer, and boy did I get a flower fix!
The show is in a fantastic setting, with Chatsworth House as the backdrop, and the showground arranged around a beautiful river. There’s a huge amount to see, including five show gardens, a selection of long borders, eight art installations, floral marquees, a stunning orchid display and a fab community area. There are also plenty of talks and advice sessions going on every day, and lots of things to keep kids busy. It would make a great family day out.
I got completely carried away (as usual!) with beautiful plants and fun family-themed ideas. Here are my highlights from the show.
The community area is a fab place to head for if you’re visiting the show with children. There are all sorts of fun activities going on throughout the day at the Discover & Grow Marquee, plus a family trail with things to spot along the way. There’s also a rather wonderful collection of competition entries from local schools, all based around the theme ‘Grow Green Planters’. How fabulous are these?!
Naturalistic planting is definitely a theme at the show, and as we saw at Chelsea this year the designers have really packed the plants in. As you can see from these pictures, the same colours (and even plants) are cropping up again and again.
The Hay Time in the Dales garden by Chris Myers is a representation of life in the Yorkshire Dales, complete with this beautiful cottage garden planting. The garden is sponsored by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, whose Hay Time Project aims to restore precious hay meadow habitats and the wildlife they support.
In A Family Garden, Amanda Waring and Laura Arison have created a safe space to relax, entertain and connect with nature. Central to the garden is a pavilion with seating and a play area, and the planting is a combination of structural and informal.
The Macmillan Cancer Support Legacy Garden by Michael Coley is a circular design which can be viewed from all sides, with a large central oak tree, perennial planting and a lush meadow. I loved the effect of the irregular blocks of stone against the softness of the plants.
More purple colour schemes in The Great Outdoors by Phil Hirst. This is quite a structured, modern garden, but the planting does a great job of celebrating the natural woodland and moorland of the north Sheffield landscape.
Astrantias have to be one of my all-time favourite perennials, and these on The John Deere Garden: 100 Years of Tractors by Elspeth Stockwell and Jo Fairfax didn’t disappoint. The garden celebrates the rural landscape and the way in which the tractor has revolutionised agriculture over the past 100 years.
I found this futuristic dome with it’s experimental urban landscaping really fascinating. There are themed zones focused on areas of concern such as pollution, food scarcity, flooding and wellbeing, with lots of tips and ideas for visitors to take away and implement at home. There’s also a fantastic semicircular living wall area where you can immerse yourself in all things green.
For me, the floral marquee is the heart of any flower show, and never fails to deliver inspiration and sheer wow factor. There are two marquees at the show, with over 80 exhibitors displaying a huge range of plants for sale. I’ve been very strict with myself here and only included my absolute favourite – these gorgeous Zantedeschia (or Calla Lilies).
If you’re visiting Chatsworth Flower Show this year, make sure you include a stop at the Great Conservatory. It’s filled with the most amazing installation of 5,000 Phalaenopsis orchids, created by floral artist Jonathan Moseley. This picture really doesn’t do justice to the display, it’s absolutely stunning. It’s great to see that all the orchids are grown in the UK by Double H Nurseries too.
I had such a great day at RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, it’s a lovely day out for all the family and a brilliant source of inspiration on all things gardening. The show is running until June 10th, you can find out more and book tickets here. Will you be visiting this year?