In the English county of Essex near Elmstead Market lie The Beth Chatto Gardens – inspirational informal gardens created by the British plantswoman, garden designer and author Beth Chatto.
It all began in 1960 on the land of Chatto family that was previously used as a fruit farm spreading on 5 acres. The soil was not suitable as it was too dry on places and too wet on others so it wasn’t farmed for a long time. Willow, blackthorn and brambles were growing freely all over the property. Chatto started transforming the overgrown wasteland into an informal garden by using plants adapted by nature to thrive in different conditions. The results were stunning – The Beth Chatto Gardens today comprise a varied range of planting sites totalling five acres, including dry, sun baked gravel, water and marginal planting, Water Garden, Long Shady Walk, Reservoir Garden and Scree Garden. All this was done by choosing plants that can survive in “problem areas”. Creating the gardens inspired Chatto’s many books on gardening.
Visiting The Beth Chatto Gardens is a truly wonderful experience that will inspire every visitor. It is a peaceful, graceful and calm place offering well manicured lawns, plants and ponds. As it is a big area at least half a day is needed for one to explore it. However, we recommend a full day – a picnic and a good book while at the gardens can be very beneficial to the soul! You can have coffee at the lovely cafe and get lunch (try the excellent baguettes) to eat outside.
The gardens are opened all year round- closing for only two weeks around Christmas and New Year. Learn more about opening hours and tickets here. The Nursery, Gravel Garden and Tea Room can be visited without purchasing a ticket to the main Gardens. Parking is free. No pets are allowed inside the gardens.
For those not being able to visit The Beth Chatto Gardens we have prepared a gallery with stunning photos of what they have to offer. We are sure you will find them very inspirational. Enjoy and please visit www.bethchatto.co.uk for further information about this inspirational garden.