The 'A Touch of Drama' long border planting, designed by Paul Martin, Head Gardener of Middleton Hall and Garden, won a gold medal at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show yesterday.
Paul, who is the one and only gardener at Middleton Hall, has never competed in an RHS show before.
"I came to Chatsworth last year, but just as a visitor' he says 'and I looked at the long borders and thought to myself: 'I could do this!'"
Paul Martin at Chatsworth House
So a year ago Paul started designing the seven meters long raised bed. He was supported by a group of volunteers who regularly help out at Middleton Hall. It's not just planting that needs to go into the soil. Di Vernon, the resident blacksmith at the Hall, has created ten garden stakes glistening in purple and pink in the sun.
'A Touch of Drama' border stands out from the other competitors at Chatsworth. It's filled with colourful bursts mixed with a dark, velvety base planting.
The theme for this year's borders at the Show was 'senses', and Paul decided to concentrate on 'touch'.
"All the plants I included in my border are tactile plants. Things like Eryngium, Stachys, lots of fluffy grasses, Hebes. It's lots of contrast with a dark underplanting, which adds a sense of drama and I contrasted that with Artemisa, which has a bit more of a feathery texture. It's quite visually interesting because a lot is going on."
Middleton Hall and Gardens, near Tamworth, is run by an independent charity consisting of only three people. Paul, who is the only gardener looks after the eighteenth-century Walled Garden. He and the rest of the team work together with volunteers from the area, many of whom have been helping out with the garden since it reopened in the 1980s.
"This Show was a fantastic opportunity for us to publicise the Hall and the Garden. Not a lot of people know where we are or who we are, and Chatsworth has been a fantastic showcase for the Garden and the Charity.
The Chatsworth Flower Show takes place from the 5th to the 9th of June in Chatsworth House, Derbyshire.