BLOOMING MARVELLOUS: Chatsworth set to put on a royal show

Mary Berry and Alan Titchmarsh who opened the RHS Flower Show at Chatsworth on Tuesday.
Mary Berry and Alan Titchmarsh who opened the RHS Flower Show at Chatsworth on Tuesday.

Thousands of visitors are expected to flock to the first ever Chatsworth Flower Show over the next few days.

The show - which is the latest addition to the Royal Horticultural Society’s annual calendar - was officially launched by Alan Titchmarsh and Mary Berry on Tuesday.

But proceedings on the preview day were brought to a premature close by strong winds and heavy rain.

Braving the downpours to put the final touches on a floral arch across the River Derwent, celebrity gardener and television personality Mr Titchmarsh said he was delighted to be back in the area.

He said: “It’s immensely exciting, we come to the county fair every year and love the Derbyshire Dales, the folk of Derbyshire are friendly, it’s great for it to get its own RHS show.”

Up to 90,000 visitors are expected to attend the show - although the weather for the event is forecast to be changeable throughout.

An RHS spokesman said: “We have many years’ experience of preparing for all the delights of the English weather and we are well prepared for all eventualities.

“Our gardens and structures are well designed to withstand all types of weather and we have strong contingency plans in place.”

The show celebrates creative people who, through their foresight and innovation, have changed the way we think about gardens and garden design.

Highlights include the RHS Garden for a Changing Climate, which presents a small suburban garden now and in the future and student-led project Path of Least Resistance. It highlights the strength and versatility of plants found on post-industrial urban wastelands.

A centre-piece for the show will be the Floral Marquee - which takes inspiration from Joseph Paxton’s Great Conservatory at Chatsworth, which housed vibrant flowers, exotic palms and aquatic plants.

Two conventional floral marquees form two wings on either side of the Great Conservatory, and will house 76 leading nurseries and growers.

As well as the traditional layout, they will also include three special areas of interest, Connoisseur - selling curious, collectible and intriguing plants, Cut Flower Garden and Edibles.

There will also be a strong community aspect to the show, with a schools’ competition where visitors will find lovingly-created Bug Hotels which are up for public vote using a token system, an outdoor classroom with drop-in-sessions on everything from making botanical ice-cream to build-a-bug workshops and seed paper tutorials and a Perfect for Pollinator container competition inviting community groups to create butterfly and bee-friendly plant containers.

The RHS has also introduced a new category in the Well Dressing competition, to be judged by public vote.

Other highlights are:

* The Great Taste Market - a foodie’s paradise and the place to stock up on gifts or indulgent treats

* Artisan Kitchen Theatre, with demonstrations from food historians, chefs, published cooks and food bloggers.

The event runs until Sunday.