Thursday 14 June 2018

RHS Chatsworth Flower Show 2018

I was fortunate enough to attend this year's show as an exhibitor. The bonus of this is you get to meet lots of lovely gardening enthusiasts but you also get access to the showground while the public aren't about.

Last year's inaugural show suffered due to the weather but there were no such problems this year. Just in case the British weather decided to be troublesome again flooring was laid around the ground and throughout the marquees. It was quite a treat to be able to eat our lunch outside and even listen to a fantastic duo playing on the bandstand.
There are so many wonderful plants, displays and ideas at Chatsworth that it is hard to know where to start but there is one standout feature. The giant inflatable conservatory is back this year with another display founded on Chatsworth's horticultural heritage. The 6th Duke of Devonshire was a great collector of orchids and sent one of his young gardeners, John Gibson, to India for the purpose of obtaining new varieties of orchid.
At one point the Chatsworth collection had around 800 varieties of orchid. The demands of war took its toll on the orchid collection as neither the labour or fuel could be spared. Now the team of Jonathan Moseley has brought the beauty and scent of orchids back to Chatsworth.
With every RHS Flower Show there are show gardens. This year's Best in Show award went to The Great Outdoors designed by Phil Hirst. It is styled as a domestic garden but takes its inspiration from the Peak District that surrounds not only Chatsworth but also Hirst's own home. The dark pools of water represent the black peat bogs found on the moorland areas.
My favourite show garden was the converted barn set in Hay Time in the Dales. Designed by Chris Myers it was awarded Silver-Gilt by the judges but also won The People's Choice Award. Wild flower meadows were once a common feature in the Yorkshire Dales but now entire habitats have been lost. This garden aims to raise awareness of the efforts being made to re-establish some of these meadows.
Inside the floral marquees each of the trade stands are also judged. They really show off the plants the traders are selling. Some ideas are realistic but I think this allium display is a bit beyond the average gardener!
There's so many ideas to take away from visiting a flower show. I was rather restrained in my purchases but I did come back with a pineapple sage replacement that succumbed to the snow earlier this year. The stall also had a blackcurrant sage and a tangerine sage which I couldn't resist. If it's specialist plants you're after these are places to buy from.
Much to Mr JibberJabber's relief I didn't come home with news that I had ordered a new greenhouse – maybe next year!


  1. I really enjoyed the post and love Chris Myers's design. Thanks so much for sharing.


    1. Chris Myers' design was my favourite of the show gardens. I love a country cottage design.


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