Striking sculpture to feature on RHS Chatsworth garden

Garden designer, Jo Thompson, will install a striking 70m sculpture in the grounds of Chatsworth House later this month, when she starts to build the central feature in the Brewin Dolphin Garden for the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show in June.

The striking design, in the exciting Freeform category at the RHS Show, will be Jo’s biggest show garden so far. The sculpture, crafted from 700 steel bars and weighing 3.5 tonnes, will cantilever dramatically out over the River Derwent, where it will hang suspended in mid-air, anchored to the riverbank by two 15m steel joists embedded in the ground. From there, the sculpture will sweep back to the garden and glide through the space in a series of wide curves before finally spiraling into a circular enclosed building.

The Freeform category has been devised as new (unjudged) category of gardens to encourage freedom of expression and celebrates the connection between plants, sculpture, art and people.

The design incorporates a sequence of garden areas dotted along the sculpture’s main frame, connected by wild flower turf following the organic shape of the structure. At one end, majestic field maples and hornbeams, chosen to complement the many ancient trees in the parkland of Chatsworth, will create a glade of trees surrounded by meadow. At the other, an ornamental garden area will curve around the steel building. A soft pastel planting palette of blues and pinks will contrast with the patina of the steel structure.

Delicate, pretty planting will create the feeling of an ornamental meadow set against the vibrant green of the landscape. Planting is loose and energetic, to reflect the setting, and the colour palette is created from soft, delicate shades of pink and lavender. Garden areas will be filled with rosa multiflora, peonies, astrantia, primula japonica and dahlias.

Four huge field maples and two hornbeams create a glade of trees, fitting with the surrounding parkland and swathes of wild flower meadow surround the garde

Jo, (pictured below) points out that installing a sculpture of this size on a site of such historic and archaeological significance has been incredibly complex but seeing it come together is a real thrill: “The Chatsworth estate is extraordinary in scale and offers a totally different perspective to anything I’ve ever done before. Such a magnificent setting deserves a spectacular installation. I think the sculpture and garden will do it justice,” she says.

Rupert Tyler, National Director at Brewin Dolphin, said: “Having the opportunity to be involved in the first ever RHS Chatsworth Flower Show and to be working with a designer of such calibre is a huge thrill.  Jo’s garden will be the biggest show garden that Brewin Dolphin has undertaken with the RHS.  After five successful years at RHS Chelsea, the size of RHS Chatsworth has allowed us to push the boundaries and create something stunning as the flagship event in our annual gardening programme. We’re delighted to be able to create something on such a scale in a new regional location. I hope our clients and visitors to the show enjoy the spectacle.”

Jo’s design promises to be both exciting and striking and we look forward to seeing the completed garden in this new and innovative category at RHS Chatsworth.

The RHS Chatsworth Flower Show will run from the 7th to 11th June, 2017.

Picture credits: Banner ©Jo Thompson/Brewin Dolphin; central picture of Jo: ©Reckless Gardener (Emma J Campbell Photography)