Sculpting an RHS Chatsworth show for all

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The first ever RHS Chatsworth flower show is in full swing until Sunday - with a 70-metre sculpture, a complex garden featuring 4,000 plants and a culinary trip to the 1940s among the highlights.

Garden designer Jo Thompson has installed the striking 70m sculpture in the grounds of Chatsworth as the central feature of the Brewin Dolphin Garden.

The sculpture, crafted from 700 steel bars and weighing 3.5 tonnes, is dotted with ‘garden areas’ along its main frame. It cantilevers dramatically out over the River Derwent where it hangs suspended in mid-air, anchored to the riverbank by two 15m steel joists embedded in the ground.

From there, the sculpture sweeps back to the garden before finally spiralling into a circular enclosed building.

The garden - sponsored by Brewin Dolphin, a finance company - appears in the show’s freeform category.

Jo said: “Installing a sculpture of this size on a site of such historic and archaeological significance has been incredibly complex.”

School of Artisan Food

School of Artisan Food

Elsewhere at the event, the Wedgwood Garden is the vision of Cornwall-based designer Sam Ovens, who envisaged a ‘contemporary take on a living space, blurring the relationship between indoors and outdoors’.

To that end, the garden features a large central terrace area, angular feature walls, specially selected specimen plants and trees, as well as hedges imported from Germany.

Sheffield company James Bird Landscape spent weeks working round the clock for seven days turning Sam’s ideas into reality.

Meanwhile, the School of Artisan Food has pitched up at the estate, having travelled from its HQ on the Welbeck Abbey estate to demonstrate how to grow, select and use ingredients at a low cost.

Sessions at the Artisan Kitchen Theatre include lessons on cooking with seasonal produce, keeping hens at home and plant pot bread-making to wild food and foraging, as well as cheese-making at home. The school has invited its neighbour Rhubarb Farm - a horticultural social enterprise - to create a ‘garden for hard times’ and a 1940s allotment.

And food historian Ivan Day will be giving an insight into the story of the pineapple in a nod to both the Chatsworth and Welbeck estates, which were at the forefront of the introduction and cultivation of the tropical fruit. The show is sold out but returned tickets may be available. Visit www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chatsworth-flower-show for details.