Dream Day – Working At Chatsworth House

I have been visiting Chatsworth House since I was a baby and it’s one of my favourite places in the whole world. When I went to RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May 2015 and got the opportunity to meet the Duke of Devonshire at Dan Pearson’s Show Garden I jumped at the chance to tell him how much I loved his house.

I couldn’t believe it when he invited me to visit the gardens with Steve Porter, the Head Gardener and his team; it was a dream come true. And so, on 30th December I had 5 ½ hours of ‘AWESOMENESS‘ working at Chatsworth House Gardens.


After meeting Head Gardener, Steve Porter I went straight to the Team’s Mess Room to get sorted and collect all the stuff  I would need. All the gardeners were out and Steve told me how they have a timetable of jobs, like cleaning out the river, planting seeds and turning the water features off at night

My first job was to work with Ian to water the plants in the greenhouses. There are 3 sections to the greenhouse – the Temperate, the Mediterranean and the Tropical. Ian was really patient and explained in detail all about the different plants including how Chatsworth played an important part in banana plants; read about it here. I was given a cutting and told I need to keep it inside on a window bottom and give it plenty of water.

Here’s a photo I took of a monkey puzzle tree cutting – they grow really big. Here I am aged 7 in the grounds of Chatsworth, right next to a newly planted monkey puzzle tree

I was also given a fig tree, which I need to keep inside for now until spring and then I need to plant it in a sunny area of the garden.

The team were really generous; I got 2 more plants cuttings from an Alpine and an Auricula and I was really lucky to get a Chatsworth Gardener’s T Shirt – I hope I wear one for real one day!

I later worked with Stefan, who was really nice. I planted some peas, beans and dill. I got a potting tray, filled it with compost and Stefan showed me to plant corner, corner, corner, corner, middle, middle, middle, middle in a grid type of way. The dill seeds were so small I just scattered them. Here I am labelling the plants

I then went with Matt and Dan to the trout stream at Dan Pearson’s garden – all the plants from the Chelsea Show Garden are spread about. Here I am in October 2015 when I went to Chatsworth Beyond Limits Sculpture Exhibition, which I have visited every year since I was 4.


Basically, we cleared out the trout stream to keep the water flowing, making damns with stones and then let the water go, it was EPIC. I threw leaves at Dan by mistake, Matt laughed and said to do it again!


At dinnertime in the mess room I had a Chatsworth sausage roll – it was delicious – with the team and Buster the dog. I asked a few questions:

Q. Has the stormy weather or floods affected the plants at Chatsworth?  A. Fortunately, No

Q. Has the mild weather affected the plants?   A. Yes things are coming up early – the plants are confused

Q. I asked the team had they always wanted to be gardeners?  A. A definite, YES

Q. What happens to all the veg they grow in the Kitchen Garden?   A. They sell it

Finally, my last and probably favourite job was to turn off the water features with Rowan. The Emperor’s Water Fountain is one of the most famous in the world and it was quite hard to do as it has a very big key and I had to put my foot in the ground to get my weight behind it.

Who would of guessed that aged 5 (in the picture below) I’d get to turn the most famous Water Fountain off?!?!?

and here’s a video of me doing just that:

I have always loved the Weeping Willow Tree so to turn this off was a real treat and it was a little easier to turn off. Whenever I go to Chatsworth I love to stand under the tree – here I am aged 5 doing just that!

The Cascade water feature has at least 6 valves operating the different fountains, gargoyles and jets they were really hard and I struggled doing this.

I loved this sculpture in the cascade in 2010


Then I met the Duke of Devonshire – WOW and my wellies had got a hole in them and let loads of water in, so they were squelching as I walked through his private rooms! He told me about his relatives whose garden in Ireland had been battered by the recent weather. He invited me to the first RHS Chatsworth Flower Show in 2017; I can’t wait for that. He congratulated me on my Ambassadorship and said “well done” at all my RHS Campaign for School Gardening achievements. I was trying to be posh when I spoke to him ! It was so special to meet him.

Unfortunately my day was over, I didn’t want to go home – I could have stayed there forever !

My Mum & Dad picked me up and we went to The Packhorse at Little Longstone for a celebratory tea, it was delicious and I spent time telling them all about what I had done.

We stayed overnight at a B&B called, Glebe End. The owners Sheila and William were really nice, the bed was so comfy, the breakfast was scrummy and I spent a lovely morning looking round their garden.

And then just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better I found a sheep skull at the side of the road – I took it home to put on my nature table; a fantastic end to a PERFECT DAY !

I really would like to say a massive thanks to the Duke of Devonshire, to Steve Porter and his team and all the other lovely people I met at Chatsworth House. It’s a day I will never forget. I’ve always joked that I want to work at Chatsworth House, well now I know, I definitely want to work at Chatsworth House !!!

About greenfingeredgeorge

RHS Young Ambassador Gardening Geek and Nature Nerd!
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29 Responses to Dream Day – Working At Chatsworth House

  1. Barbara Shockledge says:

    Wow! Hope your dream comes true George! Xxx


  2. Steve says:

    What a fantastic time you’ve had George, a day I’m sure you’ll remember for a very long time! Thanks for sharing it. 😀


    • Hi Steve, Happy New Year. It was absolutely AMAZING and even though the weather was awful I really loved it. The best bit was turning the water fountains off. And then when I met the duke with my squelching wellies was really funny – you would have laughed. See you soon George


      • Steve says:

        I definitely would have laughed at that George, how funny! Turning the water fountain off looked like hard work but an amazing thing to do, well done! See you soon George, I look forward to reading more about your adventures this year 😀


      • Steve you would have definitely laughed, see you soon George


  3. cazthered says:

    Brilliant George Cx


  4. cazthered says:

    Just brilliant George well done Cx


  5. claire says:

    Well done George. With all the hard work you do I am sure you will succeed in all your dreams. Very proud Aunty 😊 xxx


  6. Susan Waters says:

    I really enjoyed reading about your dream day, George! What a great experience!


    • Hi Mrs Waters nice to hear from you and Happy New Year. Thanks for reading my blog, the dream day was BRILLIANT ! I absolutely love Chatsworth so it was fantastic to spend a day with the gardeners. See you soon George x


  7. Hello from Canada George! I enjoyed reading about your day at Chatsworth; it’s my favourite estate home to visit when I come to the UK. And I’m envious of your day in the gardens! Good luck with your cuttings and all the best for 2016 and beyond!


    • Hi Jilly, wow I’ve never had a viewer from Canada before – thank you. Chatsworth is my favourite place too, especially the rock garden. Have you ever been to the Sculpture Exhibition in Autumn? I had the most amazing day it was fantastic. Thank you for reading my blog and it’s lovely to hear from you from George


      • It’s my pleasure George…and happy to be your first Canadian viewer!
        I haven’t seen the sculpture garden in Autumn, as I usually visit England in Spring or Summer. I have family in Cheshire and Lancashire; perhaps this year I’ll make a change!
        Take care George and keep up the good work. I admire your enthusiasm and wish some of my family members would catch the gardening bug and help me out a bit!
        All the best, Jilly


  8. joan mycroft says:

    Wow well done George you must be very proud …what a day..it sounds fantastic.so glad u got lots of things fir your garden..u can look at them and think about your special day…so pleased for u…and I must tell you I have a ticket for this year Chelsea flower show..i cannot wait to go…hope I see u at the show…well done.xxxx Fred Joan.x


    • Wow you have a ticket for Chelsea Joan!! Are you going with Fred or Steve and which day are you going? I can tell you it’s amazing and I know you will have a fantastic time. I hope I’m going again. I loved it.
      The Chatsworth day was AMAZING – it’s definitely helped me make my mind up about where I want to work when I grow up
      George x


      • joanmycroft says:

        Yes George. I am going soooo excited. Going with Stephen.it was a Christmas present from him and Steve..looking forward to it..its in may but not sure of the date will have a look and let u know..so glad u had a great time..lets hope u do work there someday…its always good to learn from the best good luck for the future George.xx


  9. bernardhassall@btinternet.com says:

    well done George. you did well to turn off fountain granddad and gran bren xxxxx


  10. Linden says:

    Well done George, I really enjoyed reading your blog. Chatsworth is one of my favourite places too.


  11. Pingback: This is Green Fingered George reporting back from Chatsworth Beyond Limits Sculpture Exhibition | Green Fingered George

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  14. Joan Mycroft says:

    This amazing seeing it again wow how you have grown , and doing so well, always interested in all you do, love watching you get involved, well done George, amazing life ahead of you.


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