Wednesday, 7 June 2017

In the Pink at RHS Chatsworth

When it comes to gardening pedigree, Chatsworth has it all. William Kent, Joseph Paxton and Capability Brown had a hand in its creation; it is, without question, a breathtaking setting for the newest RHS Show.
The Agriframes Garden
With two floral marquees, a conservatory, show gardens, a plant village and a floral installation by Jonathan Moseley on one of the three bridges, flowers take centre stage. Sam Ovens' Wedgwood Garden is a riot of colour set against purple beech hedging. 
But if there is a colour trend, it has to be pink. 
Paeonia lactiflora 'Bowl of Love'
Deutzia hybrida 'Tourbillon Rouge'
(It looks pink to me!)
Dahlia MT New Pink Single
Pink on Tanya Batkin's Moveable Feast Garden
Even Mary Berry sports pink (accessorised with wellies).
Far be it from me to suggest that disused quarries are a trend, but since James Basson won best show garden at Chelsea with his abandoned quarry and Paul Hervey-Brookes has won best show garden for the IQ Quarry Garden at Chatsworth, we might be forgiven for thinking that old quarries are quite the thing for 2017.
Pink in The IQ Quarry Garden
Chatsworth's long horticultural history provides a strong foundation on which the RHS can build; and build it has. Bees in the twenty-first century, a bug hotel competition for schoolchildren, the RHS Garden for a Changing Climate and Tanya Batkin’s moveable garden for Generation Rent all point very firmly to the future. 
Bug hotels in front of Chatsworth House
Past and future collide with memorable force in The Good Within Garden. The juxtaposition of this installation against the facade of Chatsworth House is unforgettable. The idea behind the garden is that we should look beyond exteriors. Young people, many of whom face difficulties as a result of their start in life, helped in its creation, including painting portraits of Joseph Paxton. Paxton came from humble beginnings and went on to design the Crystal Palace. It is difficult to imagine a more perfect setting to communicate this installation's powerful and optimistic message.
Similarly the placing of Behind the Scenes, which pays homage to gardening tasks and gardeners, could not be bettered. 
The RHS Chatsworth Show is large and varied, but it isn’t too spread out. My gardening-averse family would certainly enjoy it. From a hydrogen car to eye-catching sculptures, with floral sheep and delicious fudge in between, they would all find something to spark their varied interests. 

Will The RHS Chatsworth Show inspire future gardeners? I hope so. It has certainly inspired this present day one.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

My Garden Right Now with the Chelsea Fringe

I have learnt to garden with my camera - not in a trowel or scythe kind of way (that would do little for the health of a lens) - but because venturing into the garden without a camera invariably results in a hurried return to the house and the frantic search for a lens, battery, or even the whole kit and caboodle (why is nothing ever where I thought I had left it?) so that I can capture the plant or creature screaming out to be photographed.

Despite my best athletic scuttling in gardening clogs, by the time I return, camera poised (which is more than can be said for the photographer), the subject of my study has meandered off elsewhere. I am no Usain Bolt, nor am I the kind of gardener who is above being sidetracked by coffee and biscuits, so there is little need for my photographic quarry to move with any haste to avoid my lens. Consequently, wherever I garden, I try to leave a camera dangling from a gatepost or languishing on a bench.

Here I am, camouflaged in my garden today and adding to my already extensive photographic collection. Is there such a thing as too many photos of plants?

This post is part of a celebration of gardens this weekend with the Chelsea Fringe 
Why not join in with a photo of you in your garden right now using #mygardenrightnow on the social media platform of your choice? And please take a look at Michelle's wonderful blog to see more gardens right now