Sad news that Beth passed away on 13th May 2018 and our thoughts are with her family and friends.
Beth Chatto was one of the most influential gardeners in the world. Recognised for its original planting schemes, her garden at Elmstead Market near Colchester in Essex, and its adjoining nursery, has become a ‘go to’ destination for gardeners from America to Japan.
In the 1970s, when plants were bred for colour and size, Beth broke horticultural boundaries by exhibiting species plants that one RHS judge thought were weeds. Always an advocate for working with soil conditions rather than against them, one of her greatest achievements is her Gravel Garden which has never been watered since it was planted in the 1980s.
After her record-breaking success at the Chelsea Flower Show, Beth returned to develop the gardens on the site of the family fruit farm. Having created the Damp Garden and Reservoir Garden out of rough scrubland, she then added the Gravel and Woodland gardens, pioneering her ecological beliefs by always working with the prevailing conditions never against them.
Beth’s books are among the best selling and most influential of the twentieth century. The Dry Garden and its companion, The Damp Garden, are invaluable when planting in those difficult conditions, while Beth Chatto’s Notebook and Dear Friend and Gardener, a correspondence between Beth and her great friend, Christopher Lloyd, remain on every keen gardener’s bedside table.
From being a lone voice championing the value of species plants in the horticultural world, Beth Chatto now heads an ecological legacy that has shaped the way we garden in the twenty-first century.