Sunday, 17 March 2013

Beth Chatto's Garden, Part 1

With the continuing wet, snowy and cold weather I'm looking back to fairer times of last Summer and looking forward to some of the same soon

Beth Chatto (now elderly) planned a most beautiful garden in the North East corner of Essex. The story of the  development of the garden over the last 60 years can be found below (taken from website)

 The Beth Chatto Gardens began in 1960. From an overgrown wasteland of brambles, parched gravel and boggy ditches it has been transformed. Using plants adapted by nature to thrive in different conditions, an inspirational, informal garden has developed.
About Beth Chatto
Beth Chatto was born in 1923 to enthusiastic gardening parents. After working as a teacher she married the late Andrew Chatto in 1943. His life long interest in the origins of plants influenced the development of the Gardens and our use of plants to this day.
Following Andrew’s retirement, in 1960 the Chatto family built their new home on a wasteland that had been part of the Chatto fruit farm. The site presented many difficulties for starting a garden including low annual rainfall. It was to Andrew’s plant research that they turned.
Informed by his knowledge Beth selected plants for a series of Gardens that could thrive under the different conditions. Through gifts of seeds and cuttings a large collection of unusual plants and a good knowledge of propagation was acquired. Since the late fifties Beth Chatto had become involved in the Flower Club movement, lecturing, opening new clubs and demonstrating flower arranging. By 1967 the Flower Club members were an enthusiastic audience for unusual plants. Requests for catalogues followed and from a small hand typed sheet a mail order business and plant nursery was born.
In January 1975 “Unusual Plants” exhibited at the RHS Hall, Westminster, winning a Silver Medal and gaining the first press coverage. From 1977 Beth Chatto and her stand of “Unusual Plants” went on to win ten consecutive Gold Medals at RHS Chelsea. Beth Chatto’s first book, The Dry Garden, was published in 1978. Since then she has gone on to publish eight books, has lectured around the world and written articles for magazines, newspapers and the Internet. Beth Chatto still works every day in The Beth Chatto Gardens, guiding her staff and sharing her deep love and profound knowledge of planting.

The result is a Dry Gravel Garden featured here in this post and later posts will show photos from the Water Garden, Scree Garden, Woodland Garden, Reservoir Garden

Such different styles and beauty to come in the following posts
Can you believe I took over 100 photos in one garden
Will bring you some of them soon


Mary Ann said...

I have taken that many in beautiful gardens, and I am so glad you took them... what a wonderful treat!

Lorrie said...

Working with the native environment is so important when establishing a garden. Beth Chatto sounds like quite the lady. Beautiful garden.

Needled Mom said...

I would think that the dry gravel garden has not done well with this year's weather. We call that zeroscape here and we are all encouraged to have such landscaping with our dry climate. It can be so pretty if done correctly.

Trisha said...

So pretty Barbara, nice to think Spring isn't so far away.
Blessings, Trisha

Sue Seibert said...

Are the dry garden botanicals native to the area? Reminds me of zero-scape gardens over here.

Lori Zehr said...

Very pretty! I remember the beautiful gardens of England and I wasn't even on a garden tour!

elizabeth said...

I have heard of this super garden !
Friends lived nearby and always said it was stunning.

La Petite Gallery said...

This woman deserves a big medal. She has certainly left a huge foot print on this earth. It is a well
thought out garden and beautiful.
Beth turned a sow's ear into a silk purse. Thanks
I have had 2 snow plows in two days.I did clip some Apple branches and Forthisia and the forthisia is in full bloom. My Daughter never saw branches forced
inside. Come on Easter.

Merisi said...

What a wonderful idea, taking us back to the future!
Thank you and best wishes for a speedy return of warm, balmy spring days,

Willow said...

So many of those plants looks like they could be growing in our Southern California climate!

Vee said...

That's a very different kind of English Garden and a very beautiful one. Amazing what one person can accomplish.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Lovely gardens . . . they remind me of Southern California gardens that I've seen. I had no idea there are "low rainfall" areas in Great Britain. I wonder what "low rainfall" means compared to our 12 inches a year? The Chatto gardens are very pretty and I like the use of gravel for the paths too. It must have been wonderful to see them in person. I look forward to your next post!

Denise at Forest Manor said...

Hi Barbara,

This gravel garden is amazing -- quite beautiful! I'm so surprised to see something like this in England, because many of these plants are the same that we grow here in North Carolina. We frequently have hot, dry summers here, and I attended a class at our local agricultural office about growing drought-tolerant plants and flowers. I just thought that all of England got lots of rain all the time, hence the reason for your many gorgeous gardens.

Thanks for sharing with us.