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Show highlights

Get a taste of what to expect in 2018 with a roundup of our 2017 show highlights


Great ConservatoryThe Great Conservatory

At the heart of the first show was the Great Conservatory, which took inspiration from Joseph Paxton’s Great Conservatory at Chatsworth, which housed vibrant flowers, exotic palms and aquatic plants. The original conservatory, the largest glass building in England when it was constructed in 1840, was demolished in 1920. Taking inspiration from the shape of this long-lost glass house and using modern inflatable technology, a giant 14-metre high dome formed the centrepiece of the Floral Marquees. The Great Conservatory was supported by Fyffes. At its centre was an impressive art installation brought to us by Darryl Moore and Adolfo Harrison of CityScapes.

artwork for the RHS climate change gardenThe RHS Garden for a Changing Climate

A major show feature was the RHS Garden for a Changing Climate by Andy Clayden and Dr Ross Cameron of Sheffield University and RHS Scientist Eleanor Webster. Built by Killingley, their design presented a small suburban garden now and in the future, and highlighted the RHS report Gardening in a Changing Climate.

Show Gardens

IQ Quarry GardenIQ Quarry Garden, winner of the Best Show Garden award, by Paul Hervey-Brookes, was inspired by the life-cycle of a quarry, drawing attention to the habitat created by quarry sites.

The gardens also included Moveable Feast, by Tanya Batkin, a mobile garden designed for a couple living the letting lifestyle.

Cruse Bereavement Care: A Time for Everything, by Neil Sutcliffe, reflected his personal experience of terminal illness, in a garden that used materials to convey that life never really slows.

Experience Peak District and Derbyshire Garden was designed by Lee Bestall and was inspired by, and promoted, the historic houses and gardens of the Peak District and Derbyshire.

Discover more of the Show Gardens


FreeForm Gardens

This was an entirely new, (unjudged), category of gardens introduced for RHS Chatsworth, which encouraged freedom of expression and celebrated the connection between plants, sculpture, art and people.

This diverse range of designs throughout the showground all had a different story to tell.

More FreeForm Gardens


Floral Marquees

Two conventional Floral Marquees, supported by Cathay Pacific, formed two wings on either side of the Great Conservatory, and housed 76 leading nurseries and growers. As well as the traditional layout, they also included areas of special interest

Community gardening

bug hotelartisan craftsoutdoor classroom

There was a strong community aspect to the show, with a schools competition where you could find lovingly crafted Bug Hotels which were up for public vote using a token system and an Outdoor Classroom with drop-in-sessions on everything from making botanical ice-cream to build-a-bug workshops and seed paper tutorials.

Nature artRoving Rangers

If you were curious about the Peak District National Park that surrounds the RHS Chatsworth  Flower Show you could look out for the Roving Rangers in red; they had rucksacks full of entertaining activities and fascinating facts. they could be found based at the Outdoor Classroom and roaming around the showground.


Lucy Loveheart at workArtist demonstration

The artist Lucy Loveheart was commissioned by the RHS to paint a picture especially for the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show. The painting highlighted the main features of the event and celebrated some of the key characters who have helped to create and shape the magnificent gardens at Chatsworth. Adorning the ‘Garden Panel’ painting were symbols representing the gardening world and a selection of some of the Duchess of Devonshire’s favourite plants and flowers.
Lucy demonstrated her work in the retail shop at the RHS Hub on Thursday 8 June.

More to see at the show

  • The Great Taste Market was a foodie’s paradise and the place to stock up on gifts or indulgent treats.
  • With the River Derwent running through the centre of the showground, a series of bridges linked both sides of the show. A bridge designed by museum and exhibition designer Mathew Saxon took the form of an historic Palladian Bridge. As visitors entered the bridge they were taken on a floral journey by local celebrity florist Jonathan Moseley.
  • In the Artisan Kitchen Theatre, supported by Villa Maria, we had an exciting programme of demonstrations from food historians, local Michelin chefs, published cooks and food bloggers including culinary historian Ivan Day, chocolatier Shelly Preston, and award-winning baker Emmanuel Hadjiandreou. The School of Artisan Food worked with local Social Enterprise Rhubarb Farm, who use therapeutic organic horticulture to develop skills, confidence and employability and improve health and well-being for vulnerable people.
  • In celebration of local rural crafts we offered a range of demonstrations with ‘have-a- go’ elements. This ranged from dry-stone walling, to willow weaving, basket making and lathe turning. Our future crafters demonstrated how these traditional crafts can be used to create modern, less conventional pieces in keeping with the theme of the show ‘Design Revolutionaries’.
  • Invisible Wind was an incredible art installation near the Dark Peak entrance. Offering an invitation to become more aware of the air that surrounds you, the sculptures give expression to the subtlety and beauty of the ever-changing qualities of the wind.
  • Musicians played throughout the day at the Piano Stage, in association with Cunard.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.