Cast your mind back to April and May 2017. The UK bathed in sunshine, enjoying warm (nay hot) weather for days on end. April was one of the driest since records began (when did records begin?) and May was equally balmy. So come June and the first ever RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, it was almost a given that the weather would break for this wonderful outdoor spectacle. And break it did.
In the lead up to RHS Chatsworth we’ve been working on a variety of communications to support the Institute of Quarrying‘s (IQ) Quarry Garden – just one of a number of celebrations during IQ’s centenary. That’s an exciting mix of videos, social media and press relations, as well as writing and designing a 12pp newsletter and information flyer. So come press day, we descended on the show only to be greeted by 40-50mph winds, horizontal rain and temperatures that hadn’t chilled the UK since early March. But soldier on we did, drawing the attention of the gathered press pack, which happily snapped away at our brave ‘bronze’ model and the Duke of Duchess of Devonshire, who kindly joined us on the garden.
Midday came and passed with no break in the weather. So the decision was taken by the RHS on the grounds of safety to evacuate the site with everyone off site by 13.00. The sight of two fallen palm trees in front of the RHS’s homage to Joseph Paxton’s Great Conservatory being the straw that broke the camel’s back. What a morning. What a start to the first RHS Chatsworth Flower Show. What do you expect of Derbyshire in June?
Day 2 and we were back for RHS Members Day – but not after a four hour drive, three of which were spent mostly parked on the road leading to Chatsworth. Despite the delays, the sun shone. Whilst ‘parked’ we learned that the garden had achieved a clean sweep, winning ‘Best in Show’, Best Construction’ and a coveted RHS Gold Medal. A frenzy of calls to the media followed and by the time we arrived on site the Quarry Garden was under siege from the press and the public in almost equal numbers. TV, radio, bloggers, journalists all queued patiently for the chance to see the garden up close and to speak with garden guru Paul Hervey-Brookes about his success. How quickly the deluge of the day before was forgotten.
Still giddy from success, IQ hosted a stakeholder drinks party on the garden in the early evening sun. It was a fantastic opportunity for members of IQ to enjoy a tour of the garden and to catch up with colleagues from across the industry against the beautiful backdrop of Chatsworth. We caught up with various key industry figures, conducting video interviews which we’re editing into video shorts for social and web.
But that’s not the end of the Quarry Garden. It may have disappeared from the landscape at Chatsworth, but it will soon be reinvigorated at the National Memorial Arboretum in Stoke for future generations to enjoy.
— Gardeners’ World Mag (@GWmag) June 7, 2017