William Spencer Cavendish, the 6th Duke of Devonshire, was an avid collector. He collected art, sculpture, and books, but he was extremely passionate about plants. Working with his head gardener Joseph Paxton, the 6th Duke introduced many exotic and interesting varieties of plant to Chatsworth, including the Cavendish Banana.
In 1821, the Duke saw a butterfly orchid for the first time and was so entranced that he paid £100 for it on the spot (about £10,000 in today's money). By the mid-1830s, there were over 300 different types of orchid at Chatsworth, but this was just the start.
In this video, Faye Tuffrey from our garden team explores the Victorian's obsession for orchids and shows us around Paxton's Glasshouse at Chatsworth, where orchids are still grown to this day, including the Coelogyne cristata 'Chatsworth', a variety cultivated in India in 1836 for the 6th Duke.