Highlights of Chatsworth Flower Show

Jean Vernon picks her favourite features of the new RHS Chatsworth Flower Show.
It’s been battered by wind and rain and even shut down at times, but the new and exciting RHS Chatsworth Flower Show is set to become a little gem in the shows calendar.
It’s a beautiful setting with the great Chatsworth House as a backdrop, straddling the river Derwent, with the views and vistas beyond. But as the rain poured down on Press Day, it became clear the water running off the hills and the funneled wind were going to cause problems. A sneak preview on Press Day was just enough time to get the essence of the show and see some of the many features that will inspire and enthuse the 90 000 visitors expected through the gates. Here are five highlights of the show.

Palladian Bridge
Inside the Palladian Bridge spanning the River Derwent at RHS Chatsworth Image: Jean Vernon
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The Invisible Wind Sculpture by Andrew Lee

Invisible wind
The wind installation at RHS Chatsworth was in full flow
Image: Jean Vernon

If you want something to blame for the bad weather at RHS Chatsworth, this could be it. The Invisible Wind Sculpture, designed to show the patterns and flow of wind, was in full motion this week as 40+ mph winds whipped the site. But even a gentle breeze created a beautiful effect as air currents, waves and vortexes interact. The Wind Cloud was particularly effective and as the gusts of wind strengthened it became dramatically animated in its space.



The Palladian Bridge by Jonathan Moseley

Palladian Bridge
Inside the Palladian Bridge spanning the River Derwent at RHS Chatsworth Image: Jean Vernon

You’ve got to cross the river to see the whole show, so make sure you go via the dramatic and fabulous Palladian style bridge that spans the Derwent and is a spectacle inside and out. It’s a world of plants and flowers designed by Jonathan Moseley. The ceiling is adorned with hanging plants, with ferns and bromeliads wrapped in foliage and moss, and baskets overflowing with an eclectic mix of traditional and exotic flowers. Fresh green honesty seed heads are illuminated by the light, revealing the developing seeds inside. It’s truly a work of art and was a beautiful place to shelter from the rain.


The RHS Bug Hotel Competition

Bug Hotel Competition
House in the round by Mundy C of E Junior School for RHS Bug Hotel Competition at RHS Chatsworth
Image: Jean Vernon

A huge breath of fresh air, the RHS Bug Hotel Competition near the Dark Peak Entrance is a sight to behold. Local schools were given the creative brief, a fabulous alternative to planted wheelbarrows and scarecrows and typically the children have risen to the challenge and created several masterpieces. Interspersed with containers full of pollinator friendly plants, which are part of the RHS Perfect for Pollinators Container Competition, the Bug Hotels are spectacular offering shelter and nesting sites to a huge range of beasties. It’s a great way to get the kids thinking about wildlife and the importance of insects in our eco system.


The Plant Village

In the plant village there’s an array of plant shopping opportunities, of which my favourite is the display of sempervivums from Sunray Plants.

Sempervivum creation
Lots of great ways to use these fabulous plants at RHS Chatsworth Image: Jean Vernon

There’s a whole sempervivum army of plants on offer, but it’s the creative ways to use them that is very, very inspiring. From kettles overflowing with the succulent plants to flower pot men embellished with the rosettes of leaves and more.


The Floral Marquees

There are two amazing Floral Marquees at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show. Sadly they were closed very early on Press Day, but we did manage to get a glimpse of what was in store for the visitors. Don’t miss the fabulous Echium display from Echium World, an eruption of bee friendly plants in every shape and form. But it was the Fuchsia Carousel from Roualeyn Fuchsias  that really stole the show.

Fun of the fuchsia
All the fun of the fair with Roualeyn Fuchsias at RHS Chatsworth Image: Jean Vernon

The fairground, candyfloss colours of the fuchsia flowers looked just amazing against the creative, Funfair inspired signage and backdrop.

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.
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