Earlier this month we were at RHS Chatsworth to experience first-hand what it’s like to be part of an award winning show garden. We’ve put together the RHS Chatsworth Show Garden Diaries to help you explore what goes on behind the scenes. In this entry we’re talking about the Judging Day, which holds anticipation for build teams, sponsors and visitors alike.
Beginning With The Brief
Show gardens aren’t just judged on how they appear when they’re finished. In addition to this they also get judged on how well the final garden matches the initial brief.
The brief that designer Jamie Butterworth submitted to the RHS Chatsworth Show Team included information on the description, purpose and function of the garden. Alongside this he also submitted lists and drawings of the key plants and features that would appear in the Wedgwood Garden.
If the designer or build team encounter problems on the build and have to change their plans it could be the difference between Gold and Silver Gilt. Because of this strict adherence to the brief, the Wedgwood Garden team had to ensure that didn’t deviate from the plan whenever they had challenges during the build.
What Do RHS Judges Look For?
The RHS judges look at the ambition; overall impression; design; construction and planting of the garden. They match all of these criteria against the initial brief and the finished product.
Judging is done in three stages which begins the assessment. At the Assessment for the Wedgwood Garden, Jamie gave a very short introduction to the design. The Assessment is a final opportunity for the team to highlight any changes to the brief.
After the Assessment the assessing judges are joined by 4 more judges to decide which medal should be awarded. After this an experienced judge moderates the votes to ensure that they’re consistent across the design. The garden with the highest score amongst the judges is then awarded best in show alongside their medal.
What Awards Are Given?
Each RHS show gives a combination of the following awards to garden designers:
- Gold, Silver Gilt, Silver, Bronze
- Best In Show
- Best Construction
- People’s Choice Awards
Because each RHS flower show is different, they each have different awards.
For example at RHS Chatsworth specific awards were also given to the Mindfulness Gardens including ‘Best Mindfulness Garden’ and ‘People’s Choice Small Garden’. RHS Chatsworth also incorporated the Best Long Border award (RHS & People’s Choice) and the People’s Choice ‘Best Other Garden’. The RHS also gave awards to the ‘Best Exhibit in the Floral Marquee’, ‘RHS Master Grower’ and ‘Best Exhibit in the Plant Village Proctor’s Nursery’.
You can see a full list of winners for RHS Chatsworth Flower Show 2019 here.
What Happened On Judging Day?
The Wedgwood Garden was given the three most commendable awards available from the RHS Judges. In addition to this, it was also given the People’s Choice Award after visitors voted for their favourite garden online.
We spoke to Jamie about winning all four awards at RHS Chatsworth 2019. He said:
“We’ve been told that we’re the first garden at any RHS Show ever to win all four awards, it’s a truly humbling experience. I love the finished garden and I wish it could be here for longer. It’s been an amazing team effort from the suppliers to the landscapers, contractors to everyone involved and I’m still over the moon.”Wedgwood Garden Designer Jamie Butterworth
Find Out More
You can find out more about the show build in these diary entries:
- Entry One. RHS Chatsworth The Show Garden Diaries: The Design
- Entry Two. RHS Chatsworth The Show Garden Diaries: The Build
- Entry Three. Ideas and Inspiration from the Wedgwood Garden
We’ve written the RHS Chatsworth Show Garden Diaries to help you understand the background and incredible effort that goes into creating inspiring and outstanding show gardens. All credit goes to the designer Jamie Butterworth; build team Keyscape Design & Construction; planting team Butterworth Hort and Hortus Loci and the main sponsors, Wedgwood.