Chatsworth Flower Show opens to public for first time


Chatsworth Flower Show

Chatsworth Flower Show has opened its doors for the first time as the newest addition to the Royal Horticultural Society's calendar gets under way this week.

The show, at the Duke of Devonshire's Chatsworth estate in Derbyshire, was almost sold out, although visitors face potentially mixed weather conditions over the week.

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The Great Conservatory, a re-imagining of the one designed by Sir Joseph Paxton in 1841, marks the heart of the showground, which also features a giant pair of hands made of hay and a willow serpent rising from the River Derwent on to a Palladian bridge.

Several features of the show, which has "design revolutionaries" as its theme, draw inspiration from great garden designers of the past including Paxton and Lancelot "Capability" Brown, both of whom had a significant impact on the estate.

The eight show gardens at Chatsworth will include Worcestershire-based Tanya Batkin's Moveable Feast, a transportable garden for a couple from "generation rent" with neither time nor money to recreate a garden each time they move.

The Royal Horticultural Society will focus on climate change in a feature garden looking at two scenarios for a small suburban garden, to highlight the impacts on gardening of rising temperatures and changing weather.

One part of the RHS Garden for a Changing Climate will be planted as it would be now, while the other will present a scenario for the year 2100.

The largest garden at the show, a modernist Quarry Garden representing the lifecycle of a quarry, features more than 7,000 bedding plants and a 10-metre tall oak tree, as well as more than 20 slate monoliths from Cornwall.

There will also be a first for an RHS show of a new, unjudged "free-form" category which does not have the rules or requirements of most shows and will feature different shaped gardens with sculptures and unusual ideas.

Anna Skibniewski-Ball, assistant show manager, said the RHS hoped it would be a "truly wonderful and inspiring horticultural event".

She added: "Our over-arching theme of design revolutionaries is prevalent throughout the show, from our re-imagining of Joseph Paxton's Great Conservatory with fantastic tropical planting, to our Palladian-style bridge spanning the River Derwent."

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