Sculptural riverside garden for RHS Chatsworth

Multi award-winning designer Jo Thompson has been chosen by Brewin Dolphin to create its inaugural garden at the first RHS Chatsworth Flower Show.

The Brewin Dolphin garden will appear in the new FreeForm category, intended to encourage a diverse freedom of expression through sculptural design. Jo will create a spectacular horticultural installation celebrating the landscape of the 1,000 acre parkland of the Chatsworth Estate and the elegance and beauty of Chatsworth House.

The garden, sited on the banks of the River Derwent, will reflect the grandeur of its setting and combine modern industrial materials with naturalistic planting. Central to the design is an imposing contemporary sculpture crafted from reinforcing steel bars (Rebar) that will sweep through the space.

The design incorporates a series of garden areas dotted along the sculpture’s main frame connected by wildflower turn following the organic shape of the structure.

At the other end, an ornamental garden area will curve around the imposing steel frame. A soft pastel planting palette of blues and pinks with highlights of apricot will contrast with the patina of the steel sculpture.

Paving and sculptural seating will reflect the millstones that can be found across the Peak District, the region in which the Chatsworth estate sits and which form vital parts of the area’s cultural heritage.

Jo Thompson (pictured left) said: “I wanted to design a garden that does justice to the majestic setting of Chatsworth House and that maximises the beautiful views and natural curves of the landscape.  The sheer size and scale of the setting has allowed me to push the boundaries and create something that I hope will truly inspire and excite everyone who visits and provide a spectacular contemporary viewpoint from which they can enjoy the historic vistas.  Chatsworth has a rich history of combining the surprising and contemporary with the historic and traditional, it’s this spirit that I wanted to reflect in The Brewin Dolphin Garden.”

The planting will create the feeling of an ornamental meadow set against the vibrant green of the landscape with loose and energetic planting to reflect the setting. Garden areas will be filled with rosa canina, peonies, irises and dahlias. Four huge field maples and two hornbeams will create a glade of trees, fitting with the surrounding parkland.

Rupert Tyler, national director at Brewin Dolphin says that they are thrilled to be involved with the first ever RHS Show at Chatsworth and to be working with a designer who has such an outstanding pedigree in garden design: “RHS Chatsworth is the flagship event in our annual gardening programme, which offers our clients some truly unique and exciting opportunities in the world of horticulture,” he says. “Taking inspiration from Chatsworth House and the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire’s love of contemporary art, this year’s programme is created under the theme of Art and the Garden. Jo’s garden is a fantastic reflection of this.”

Jo is a designer renowned for her planting technique and the team at Reckless Gardener can’t wait to see this exciting FreeForm garden at the first ever RHS Chatsworth.

Information on Jo Thompson and her design work can be found at

Information about the Brewin Dolphin Gardening Club and this year’s programme can be found at their website here:

Photo credits: Banner garden plan ©Jo Thomson/Brewin Dolphin; photograph ©Jo Thompson/Brewin Dolphin