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Heatwave Reveals Garden Hidden For 300 Years

A secret garden of the past.

The United Kingdom faced a massive heatwave in July, shattering records and causing a surge of weather-related incidents such as transportation delays, wildfires, and school closures. But the heatwave did unearth one historic discovery: the remnants of a 17th century garden in the Chatsworth House estate. 

Dating back to 1699, the European-style formal garden, known as the Great Parterre, was designed for the 1st Duke of Devonshire. It was part of a 105-acre garden and measured 473 by 227 feet. The flowerbeds and pathways were covered over with grass and replaced with a new design around 1730.

Illustration depicting the 17th-century garden (Left), and the Great Parterre revealed (Right); Photo Credit: Chatsworth House
Illustration depicting the 17th-century garden (Left), and the Great Parterre revealed (Right); Photo Credit: Chatsworth House

However, the shorter roots of the grass from the new lawn burn more quickly, causing the heat and lack of rain to temporarily reveal the older garden underneath. Images captured by drone footage clearly define patterns, flower beds, and winding paths under the lawn, giving a glimpse into what the traditional garden looked like 300 years ago. 

As Steve Porter, Chatsworth House’s head of gardens and landscapes, said, “The current heatwave is causing us issues elsewhere in the garden but here it has revealed a hidden gem not enjoyed properly for nearly 300 years!… It will disappear again when temperatures drop. and we get some rain, but in the meantime it’s wonderful to get a glimpse back into the past.”

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