RHS Chatsworth – this and that

Sandy Felton reflects on a very wet press day at RHS Chatsworth

My one regret about the inaugural RHS Chatsworth is that I was only visiting for Press Day and given that the weather conditions were perhaps the worst I have ever experienced at a flower show it is not surprising that I probably missed quite a few things that I had wanted to see. Mental note to self is that next year we need longer!

The site is enormous and there is a feeling of fresh air and freedom tinged with a little bit of ‘upper crust’ with the beautiful Chatsworth House in the background. So as far as locations go it is just superb.

The fact that the River Derwent runs right through the showground is another bonus in my opinion and on a dry sunny day will no doubt be an bonus. I was prepared for the worst (for me) booted and suited and frankly the weather did not really bother me – well I do live in Cumbria – but nevertheless I was impressed with how people coped, not only with the rain but the wind as well, on such an exposed site. Let’s just say it was interesting.

James Alexander-Sinclair looked debonair in a smart tweed suit and didn’t seem to be affected by the rain at all. Mary Berry had sensible wellingtons on while the various garden and installation designers just shrugged in the rain and did their best to welcome guests to their gardens. Heroes all. One could not imagine worse weather in the middle of June. The only time I have come close to it at a Show was Hampton Court several years ago when we had thunder and lightening and yes wind, and they had to close.

Anyway, weather notwithstanding there is a lot to take in and enjoy at the new RHS Chatsworth and you will certainly not be bored. I particularly liked the mix of art and horticulture and the many demonstrations of floral artistry. The RHS Bug Hotel Competition is fun and instructive, (above) The Palladian Bridge awesome (small part below) and the RHS Garden for a Changing Climate has a lot of really helpful hints to help us cope with our definitely changing and unpredictable climate as evidenced on press day.

Below are just some of the things we saw, enjoyed and conquered. I just hope that the weather improves for the rest of the Show as it is so sad after all the hard work and effort by everyone involved, that the weather should be so dire.

We also managed to get into Chatsworth House for the impressive display of fashion and if you should have the time or are visiting over a couple of days, this is a must.

Mary Berry and Simon Lycett

The rain didn’t seem to upset the cows on the Experience Peak District & Derbyshire Garden

Loved these installations around the site.

Duke & Duchess of Devonshire toasting the new Show and the Peak District & Derbyshire garden

Loved this guy – What do you mean its raining!


Little bees on the Gaze Burvill/David Harber installation

Pretty cool way to decorate a bridge

Bug hotel competition

Surreal experience in the Great Conservatory


Copyright: All photographs are ©Reckless Gardener 2017 credit Emma J Campbell Photography.