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Discovering Chatsworth Garden and Plant Fair: A Living Canvas

Nestled in the heart of Derbyshire, Chatsworth House is renowned for its stunning architecture, rich history, and expansive gardens. Each year, the estate hosts the Chatsworth Garden and Plant Fair, a vibrant celebration of horticulture that attracts gardening enthusiasts from all corners of the globe (I had a lovely chat with a guy from Auckland who said it was impossible to grow peonies there!) This event is not just a plant fair but a lovely immersive experience that highlights the beauty of plants in a striking setting . I am always looking for stunning flowers to give me inspiration for my sugar flower classes so I jumped at the chance to go to a fair only 10 minutes drive from home.


A Historical Backdrop

Chatsworth House, the seat of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture and has been home to the Cavendish family since 1549. The house itself is stunning, but it is the surrounding gardens, designed by renowned landscape architects such as Capability Brown and Joseph Paxton, that truly captivate visitors. The annual Garden and Plant Fair is held within these historic grounds.


The Event: a plant sale with a difference


The Chatsworth Garden and Plant Fair typically takes place in early summer, when the gardens are in full bloom. The event features an array of exhibitors, all showcasing their favourite plants and gardening products. From rare and unusual plants such as exotic orchids to classic garden favourites like poppies and salvias, there's something for every green thumb.




Highlights of the Fair


- Plant Stalls: Dozens of stalls offer a diverse selection of plants, from perennials, annuals and handmade garden sculptures to shrubs and trees. Knowledgeable stallholders are on hand to provide expert advice on plant and product care.





- Shopping, Snacking and Family Fun: In addition to the plant stalls, the garden and house offers a variety of shops selling all sorts of gifts, books, clothes, produce and luxury items. You can also enjoy a selection of food and drink from various food vans and cafes within the grounds. I enjoyed a red hot, freshly baked, flakey pastry sausage roll, followed by an ice cream! Yes, I'm a picture of health haha. You are also free to picnic and play ball games within the extensive grounds and even walk down the cascade (although it was closed for repair during this fair) that's if you haven't got yourself trapped in the maze of course. So the fair is not only for garden lovers, it is a perfect day out for the whole family. Oh and dogs are very welcome too, although we left Jarvis the Cocker at home this time after his squash and squeeze on the tree fern expedition!


My Favourite Bits

I've always found the gardens here magical. Spanning over 105 acres, the gardens are a testament to centuries of horticultural passion and innovation. I particularly love;

- The Cascade: This iconic water feature is a series of steps down which water flows, creating a mesmerising effect. My children used to love to paddle down it on warm summer days.

- The Maze: another fun and challenging feature that we have enjoyed cracking for many years.

- The Rockery: One of the earliest and largest rock gardens in England, it showcases a variety of alpine plants in a dramatic setting.

- The Kitchen Garden: A working garden that supplies the estate with fresh produce, it offers a glimpse into sustainable gardening practices.


My Tips for Visiting

- Plan Ahead: The fair can get busy, so it's a good idea to buy tickets in advance and arrive early to make the most of your visit.

- Wear Comfortable Shoes: With so much ground to cover, comfortable footwear is essential.

- Bring a Big Bag (or Trolley): You'll likely be tempted by the many plants and garden accessories on offer, so a sturdy bag will come in handy.

- Bring a Picnic & Drinks: June can be warm, so be sure to bring water and stay hydrated as you explore the fair and gardens, the cafes and food vendors get busy (and are quite expensive) so bring your own if you prefer, and don't forget your picnic rug.


plants
My haul from the stalls!

Conclusion


The Chatsworth Garden and Plant Fair is a lovely event; whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting your horticultural journey, the fair offers inspiration, education, and a great day out in one of England's most beautiful settings. I'll be back for sure next year even if it's just to see the beautiful peonies that surround the maze! What better inspiration could I ask for when I am planning my sugar flower classes?



Lisa x



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