August 21, 2017

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Quirky cows score a hit with VIP’s at RHS Chatsworth

Rain may have stopped play as the wraps came off the first-ever RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, but guests in the Experience Peak District & Derbyshire show garden braved the elements in true British style – with a traditional countryside picnic.

They toasted official tourist board Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire’s success in winning a Silver Gilt Medal with a glass of Derbyshire sparkling wine and the cream of local produce – including Bakewell Pudding, Hartington cheese and hand-made pies made with locally-reared meat (Tuesday June 6).

The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire joined the celebrations alongside Sheffield-based designer Lee Bestall – fresh from his Silver Medal winning triumph at RHS Chelsea 2017 – in the eye-catching space, inspired by the richness and variety of the area’s landscapes and formal gardens.

Gardener, broadcaster and writer Alan Titchmarsh also dropped by before RHS show organisers were forced to abandon the media preview day because of bad weather – and was particularly impressed by three life-size model cows grazing in wild flower strewn meadows.

The cows, sprayed in eye-catching metallic colours – copper, chrome/silver and gold – and ‘branded’ with a blue and white hand-painted circular motif, were intended to add a touch of whimsy and humour and are proving a real talking point.

“I decided to include them after reading a comment by the late Sir George Sitwell of Renishaw Hall & Gardens that white cows could be made more interesting if painted with a blue pattern,” said Lee, whose business, Bestall & Co, is based at Renishaw Hall.

“I don’t think his vision was ever realised, but it certainly stimulated my imagination as a quirky complement to the overall picture I wanted to create. I was delighted by the enthusiastic reception our cows received from our guests on the first day – including Alan Titchmarsh, who really liked them.”

Jo Dilley, the tourist board’s managing director, added: “Fortunately both the cows and our garden made a great initial impression before the bad weather took hold on the first day, and we are really pleased that the reaction has been so positive, especially from the show judges.

“Now we’re looking for a good home for the cows after the show has closed, and are accepting sealed bids so that anyone interested in giving them a permanent home can register an interest. We’d particularly like to hear from anyone wanting to keep them together as a herd!”

After the show has ended, the award-winning garden – built by JPH Landscapes of Sheffield – will be recreated at Renishaw Hall as one of its garden rooms, minus the cows, so that even more visitors to the area can enjoy and appreciate it.

Main show garden sponsors, Derbyshire-based CW Sellors Fine Jewellery, are launching their new, floral inspired Tuberose jewellery collection at the show. Other sponsors are Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire; Hope Cement, A Breedon Group Company; Peak District Premier Cottages; The Camping and Caravanning Club and The Bakewell Bakery.

Local produce for the picnic was supplied by The Bakewell Bakery; the English Wine Project, based at Renishaw Hall; Hartington Creamery; Mettrick’s Butchers of Glossop and Thornbridge Brewery.

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