Sheltered by 1,000 acres of mature trees, where Yorkshire yields to the Peak District, the contrast to the Royal Horticultural Society’s traditional home could hardly be more striking. Instead of the view of Battersea Power Station over the Thames, only the gentle swish of the River Derwent punctuates the landscape of hills and trees.
The Chatsworth Flower Show, an annual event that will now sit alongside the one in Chelsea, was unveiled by the RHS today, on the Duke of Devonshire’s estate.
“It’s quite magnificent, if I do say so myself,” said the Duke as, behind him, Alan Titchmarsh and Mary Berry picked their way through the gardens and stands.
The show is already nearly sold out ahead of tomorrow’s opening, although today’s preview had to be shut early because of heavy rain and wind.
The Duchess said the spectacle was “thrilling”, and Mr Titchmarsh, who braved the rain to put the final touches to a floral arch across the Derwent, said a show at Chatsworth, with its links to such gardening figures as Sir Joseph Paxton, who designed the house’s great conservatory and got the Victoria water lily to flower before Kew, was “really special”.
“It deserves its own show - it’s been doing things like this for centuries,” he said.
Sue Biggs, director general of the RHS, said the charity had chosen Chatsworth to increase the opportunity for people to see shows and gardens in the north.
As for the outlook for the weather over the week, with rain returning on Thursday, Mr Titchmarsh said: “You’re not born and bred up north to say, ‘it’s raining, we won’t come’.”