The must-see plants at Chatsworth

A visit to Chatsworth 2018 wasn't complete without experiencing these phenomenal plants that were for sale at the show


In the Cavendish Floral Marquee:

Flowering dogwoods

BlueBell Arboretum & Nursery put on a wonderful display of choice shrubs and small trees, among them selections of Cornus kousa (flowering dogwood). Exhibited varieties included 'Mount Fuji' with constellations of rich pink, starry flower heads, elegant 'Madame Butterfly' with rounded white-pink blooms, and 'Miss Satomi' another fine pink selection. All reach approximately 5m after around 20 years and produce vibrant autumn foliage tints.

Mountain daisies

Kevock Garden Plants provided a jaw-dropping stand of alpines and choice woodland plants, among them Meconopsis; their silky flowers in shades of blue and violet, silvery Celmisia semicordata; with its huge daisy flowers, dainty white Ramonda myconi var. alba, and a superb, mature orange-flowered Lewisia Brynhyfryd hybrid, covered with showy, upward-facing blooms.

Showstopping salad

W. Robinson & Sons' inspiring exhibit of more than 90 selections of vegetable, many of them unusual or curious, was well worth a visit. There was climbing spinach 'Malabar Verde', huge onion 'Mammoth Red', white-fruited cucumber 'White Wonder', the prickly fruits of 'kiwano', and - most bizarre of all - Trichosanthes (snake gourd), with its long, contorted-fruits resembling strips of snakeskin.

Dazzling dahlias

The National Dahlia Collection provided an eye-popping display of many beautiful selections, among them mauve, single-flowered 'Chatsworth Splendour'; 'Twyning's White Chocolate', a white collarette selection; decorative 'Lavender Perfection' with huge, dinner plate-sized flowers and vibrant 'Totally Tangerine' an anemone-flowered dahlia with pink and orange blooms.

In the Devonshire Marquee:

Radiant roses

Harkness Roses specialises in cultivars that perform well in gardens, many of their own breeding. Of particular note in their Chatsworth display of scented roses (all three bred and introduced by the nursery) were; rich, dark-orange Hot Chocolate ('Wekpaltlez); palest blush-pink, semi-double shrub rose Jacqueline du Pré, ('Harwanna'); and single pure white Keros ('Harpacific'), which can make a good hedge, up to about 1.3m (5ft) tall.

Tender lilies

Brighter Blooms of Preston, Lancashire are specialists in bulbous plants, including the tender calla lilies or Zantedeschia. In recent years, the number of boldly-coloured hybrids has widened considerably, ranging from true blacks such as 'Black Art', 'Starry Night' (with foliage spotted in white) and taller 'Cantor Black', to sultry maroon 'Sumatra' and rich orange 'Hawera'. Plants are best grown outdoors for summer, and the rhizomes lifted and dried off before the frosts.

Perfectly pink dianthus

Dianthus specialists Calamazag Plant Nursery hail from Looe in Cornwall. Immaculately-groomed examples of plants in full flower such as tall, pale-pink 'Bubblegum', which took pride of place at centre, were backed by white 'Haytor' and flanked by more diminutive, bicoloured red and pink 'Evening Star'. These were combined with informative portraits of historically-important cultivars and information on growing and propagating the plants.

And the star of the show: moth orchids

As well as the massed moth orchids in the Great Conservatory, displays of the most aristocratic of flowers had a prominent role in the Devonshire Floral Marquee. Amateur growers from several north of England orchid societies contributed to the Sheffield and District Orchid Society's varied display, which ranged from hardy, native species to tropical epiphytes and their hybrids.

  • Growers from across the world sell their blooms at our shows. Bred by top quality nurseries, RHS Flower Shows make a great location to shop for plants - and you can ask the experts' advice to make sure they're suitable for your garden. As well as the Cavendish and Devonshire Floral Marquees, more nurseries can be found in the Plant Village.
  • See our A-Z of nursery exhibitors here

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