An evening with Steve Porter from Chatsworth



After a sold out event in January where we welcomed local historian Mel Jones to share his stories of the house and the gardens, our Historic Landscapes and Lecture Series returns to Wentworth Woodhouse next month. We are delighted to welcome Steve Porter, Head of Gardens at Chatsworth who will be sharing his experience of working at the 105-acre garden.

We were lucky enough to speak with Steve ahead of his visit and find out more about his job and the challenges faced over at Chatsworth.

How long have you been responsible for the grounds at Chatsworth?

I’ve been here for almost 13 years, and in charge of the garden and surrounding landscape for about 8.

What does a typical day involve looking after such a large and prestigious venue?

There is never a typical day…… I can be taking groups or visitors around the garden, meeting with designers and architects looking at a new project or spending time with the family in the garden discussing plant choices or placing additions to the collection.

What are some the challenges that you face?

The obvious challenge to all gardeners, particularly in 2019, has been the weather! However, additionally we have a lot of visitors in the garden so maintaining the fabric of the garden so it does not look tired can take a lot of effort. We are also always looking to improve our plantings to provide more interest and colour for as much of the season as possible.

What topics will you be discussing during your talk?

I will start by covering the Cavendish family history at Chatsworth over the last 500 years, showing how they have constantly added to, improved or removed features by either following or setting horticultural fashions.  I will then talk a little about the team today and how we operate before focusing on our current garden development project, which involves both Dan Pearson and Tom Stuart-Smith.  Work is now well underway include the revitalisation of the Trout Stream, a 6th Duke feature now replanted with Dan to add a subtle and natural spring flowering element.  The rockery, again by the 6th Duke and Joseph Paxton, has been stripped back, improved and is now being replanted with massed perennials and grasses to add a new layer of interest around the gigantic boulders. Tom, as well as leading within the rockery, is master-minding a new woodland garden, where we are creating new access, sculpture and establishing literally hundreds of thousands of plants!

As the above highlights, Steve has a wealth of knowledge and we are anticipating another popular event. Doors open at 6pm for complimentary drinks and canapés with lectures starting at 6.45. Tickets are priced at £20 however for a limited time, book three tickets for any of our lecture series for the special price of £40.

Head to bit.ly/WW-LectureSeries and use the code 3FOR40 during check out