Posted by: lornasass | July 19, 2010


There is so much to extol about Chatsworth–the magnificent estate of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire–that it’s hard to know where to begin.  So I’ll go by one of my favorite life mottoes:  when in doubt, start with the vegetable garden.

When we first began strolling around the vast property, it rained cats and dogs, so we retreated to the coffee shop.  When the rain stopped and we emerged, it was about four o’clock and we pretty much had the vegetable garden to ourselves.  It was magical.

I’ve been seeing lots of borage growing in English cottage gardens.  I remember reading about it in Elizabethan recipes.  I bought some seeds and plan to grow it next summer.  Both the leaves and lovely lavender flowers are edible.  I love the fuzzy stems and sepals.

I think I’ll plant some nasturtiums too.  I’d never seen this variety with variegated leaves before.  Check out those lovely, fat chives on the left, too.

The ruby chard was so gorgeous, it was hard to think of eating it.

There were also apple and pear trees trained around arches.  Walking under one, I encountered this gorgeous raspberry bush.  Look at those variegated leaves.   Please don’t tell:  we nipped a few berries and ate them with great pleasure.  Chatsworth berries.  Memorable,  like everything else about the place.



  1. You’re going to love the borage, I expect. Very easy to grow and a guaranteed self-sower if you’ve got the space. Don’t know how big it is at Chatsworth, but in Maine it gets to be a sprawly bush about 3 feet in all directions. Edible flowers – pinch upward and the crown of petals comes off the base, giving you a delicate blue circle that has the same cucumber taste as the leaves.

    • Oh, I’m so happy to know this. The borage at Chatsworth was about 2 feet tall, but delicate thin plants, not bushy at all. I expect the plants I photographed were grown from this season’s seeds since they plant as early as February here.

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