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Heavy rain and wind causes Chatsworth Flower Show preview day to end early

Alan Titchmarsh and Mary Berry were among the first to get a glimpse of the newest addition to the RHS shows calendar.

The preview day of the first Chatsworth Flower Show has had to be shut early because of heavy rain and wind.

The Royal Horticultural Society said it planned to open the sell-out show on Wednesday, when the public get their first chance to visit.

Earlier, Alan Titchmarsh and Mary Berry were among the first to get a glimpse of the newest addition to the RHS shows calendar.

The show, at the Duke of Devonshire’s Chatsworth estate in Derbyshire, is already sold out, although the 90,000 expected visitors face continued mixed weather conditions over the week.

Braving the rain to put the final touches on a floral arch across the River Derwent from the stately home, the TV presenters were enthusiastic about the show.

Titchmarsh said: “It’s immensely exciting, we come to the county fair every year and love the Derbyshire Dales, the folk of Derbyshire are friendly, it’s great for it to get its own RHS show.”

He said each of the RHS shows, including Chelsea and Hampton Court, have their own identity.

Having a show at Chatsworth – with its links to key gardening figures of the past including Sir Joseph Paxton, who designed the house’s Great Conservatory and got the Victoria water lily to flower before Kew, and Lancelot “Capability” Brown – was “really special”.

“It deserves its own show, it’s been doing things like this for centuries,” he said.

As for the outlook for the weather over the week, with heavy rain and winds on Tuesday, and rain returning on Thursday, he said: “You’re not born and bred up north and say ‘it’s raining, we won’t come’. This is why it is like this, so green, it’s a blessing,” he added.

Berry said: “I’m just enjoying the space, and also every time you look up, you see Chatsworth, that I think is very lovely, and the water, and it will never be too full, there’s lots of room for family picnics.”

“I think it’s wonderful to have a completely new show,” she said, adding the estate was a good place for the show as it was used to holding events.

The Great Conservatory, a re-imagining of the original designed by Sir Joseph in 1841, marks the heart of the showground.

The show has “design revolutionaries” as its theme, and alongside more conventional show gardens, there are a series of “freeform” gardens of differing sizes and shapes, with sculptures and unusual ideas, which are not being judged.

The RHS is focusing on climate change in a feature garden looking at two scenarios for a small suburban garden, to highlight the impacts on gardening of rising temperatures and changing weather.

One part of the RHS Garden for a Changing Climate is planted as it would be now, while the other will present a scenario for the year 2100.

As the show was closed, a statement from the RHS said: “Unfortunately, due to adverse weather conditions, we’ve had to close the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show today.

“We plan to open the show tomorrow and will be monitoring weather conditions closely.”

They urged people to check the website for further information. Earlier, a minute’s silence was observed onsite to commemorate the victims of the London Bridge attack on Saturday night.

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