If planning a visit to the new RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, why not tie in a visit to a Partner Garden in Derbyshire?
You've purchased your tickets for the new RHS Chatsworth Flower Show from 7 - 11 June - why not make a short break of it, and add a nearby Partner Garden to your itinerary? We look at three Derbyshire Partner Gardens well worth an early summer visit.
Renishaw Hall - winner of the HHA Garden of the Year 2015 - is like a piece of Italy in Derbyshire, with its pools, fountains and symmetrical design.
New for this year are four Arne Maynard-designed borders around the middle lawn, planted to an intricate design and with a long flowering period in mind.
Look for poppies including 'Ruffled Patty' and 'Snow Goose', Geranium 'Lilac Ice', roses and rustic Digitalis spikes. 'The borders are like a Chelsea Flower Show garden on a large scale,' says Head Gardener David Kesteven.
The redesigned, refreshed Rose Garden is in its third summer. Here you can see more than 300 roses across 70 cultivars, including ‘Tickled Pink', 'Renaissance' and 'Lady Sitwell'. The roses – in shades of purples, apricots and blues – are underplanted with complementary salvias, clematis and lilies for height.
Oriental poppies and lupins bloom on the Bottom Terrace and there are peonies to enjoy near the woodland.
Dreaming delphinium spires
Head to the Buttress Border to see spectacular displays from more than 50 delphiniums (depending on weather conditions). 'Faust' and 'Michael Ayres' are favourite cultivars here; more unnamed seedlings have been added to the display this spring.
Cool off in the woods or take a walk around the 4.5ha (11 acres) lake - and you can round off the day with a then-and-now exhibition in the stableyard, featuring 100-year-old photographs of the garden.
Melbourne Hall Gardens, Melbourne
Take a stroll to appreciate the pleasing symmetry of this Queen Anne landscape, set out in the style of Le Nôtre. Carefully planned axes lead your eye to lime and chestnut avenues, classical statuary and the hall itself – there is an especially good view across the Great Basin from the wrought iron ‘bird cage’ arbour. Interlinking pools with gravity-fed fountains add to the formal effect.
The streamside plantings come into their own in June. Swathes of candelabra primulas flourish in the moist, sheltered conditions, alongside lush hostas, Iris sibirica and unusual pink camassias. The cornus are putting on showy displays, too - look for the lovely bracts of Cornus kousa var chinensis 'China Girl'.
Choice plants in variety
For scent, seek out Rhododendron 'Loderi King George', which has strongly perfumed white flowers growing to 15cm wide. Other choice plants include Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Mariesii', with its large, lacy snowballs, Styrax japonicus, which has clusters of elegant bell-shaped white flowers, and many peonies.
At the top end of the garden the ancient wisteria impresses, and be sure to visit the 4.5m (15ft) high Rose Wall, covered with 20 roses including Rosa 'Blairii Number Two' and R. 'Constance Spry'.
Artistry in the borders
The colour-themed borders reflect the painter’s eye of owner Lady Kerr. In early June, Meconopsis and Trollius make a pretty pairing in the blue and yellow border, while in the pink borders, deep crimson Rosa Munstead Wood makes a dramatic foil for the lighter pinks of Salvia greggii, soft-spired Eremurus robustus and Cornus ‘Norman Hadden’.
Just six miles from Chatsworth, this Peak District garden was designed to be a vision of 1,000 shades of green - but there are many other colours besides!
Calling iris lovers
Stroll the Scented Terrace, planted with 100 David Austin roses and some charming tall bearded irises which, given good weather, repeat-flower in September. See 'Pinkness' (pink with orange beard), a visitor favourite; very pale blue 'Aaron's Dream' and deep blue 'Feed Back'.
The outer borders feature standard golden Catalpa (Indian bean tree), also popular with visitors. 'These look very exotic but are actually hardy - we can reach -15 in winter,' says Gardener Chris Plumb.
New for this year
Opening in June is the refreshed Old Knot Garden, redesigned and replanted following box blight. This is now home to swirls of golden yew, vivid Geum, salvias, feathery Stipa tenuissima and more than 2,000 alliums.
You'll find more alliums in the Kitchen Garden, where the globes of Allium hollandicum 'Purple Sensation' add bold splashes of rosy-purple. Here, eight large beds are filled with salads and edible flowers including nasturtiums, marigolds, chives, borage and strawberries, ready for use in the cafe.
A taste of Italy
The Italian Garden is elegant year-round, with its manicured 'Skyrocket' junipers and yews, and stone urns planted with seasonal bedding. This year they feature a pastel mix of pink and blue scented geraniums, Nepeta and Nemesia.
A less formal feel awaits in the Water Garden, one of the garden's jewels. Naturally fed by the surrounding moors, it is lush and colourful with candelabra primulas, hostas, ferns and large-leaved Darmera peltata.
Relax and take in the views
There is more colour in the herbaceous border, where Ligularia, Astrantia and foxgloves flower in waves, and on the Front Lawn, planted with lupins and a sizzling mix of heucheras and x heucherellas 'Georgia Peach', 'Sweet Tea' and 'Marmalade' to name just a few. The plantings are kept deliberately low so visitors can enjoy one of the garden's great assets - its wonderful views over the surrounding parkland.