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There are plantings of verbena whose seed heads turn jet black in winter and stand out among the green, silver and gold foliage and straw coloured grasses.
Such deliberate, thoughtful planting extends throughout the garden.
From the dry Gravel Garden to the lush Water Garden, Beth has planted thousands of varieties of plants perfectly suited to their environment.
The gardens, covering seven acres with widely varying conditions including dry, woodland, damp and wet, are sure to provide inspiration at any time of the year.
She has been a huge inspiration to a great many people, across the generations, in the horticultural world.
I had long been familiar with her through her books and her reputation as one of the great influential figures in twentieth century gardens and gardening, however, this was the first time I had had the opportunity to visit her gardens.
The plants she has used include Stipa gigantea, Sedums, Verbena bonariensis, Santolina, Euphorbias, and a Rhus typhinia, just coming into its vibrant autumn foliage when we were there, but providing a beautiful branch structure throughout the year.
Like a real river bed, the modest-sized plants are set into a setting provided by the structure of mature trees – most of which melt into the background, but the white bark of a large Eucalyptus provides a focal point. Influenced by her late husband’s research into how plants grow in the wild.
The first garden you come across as you enter is the famous gravel garden, which was ground breaking when first established in the 1990s.At this time of year The Beth Chatto Gardens are open from 9am. It provides lovely, fresh, apple green foliage.” 4. Heuchera “This is an evergreen perennial of which comes in a multitude of foliage colours. Galanthus ‘James Backhouse’ “This is an unusual, early variety of snowdrop. The OBE-awarded plantswoman who began the gardens that bare her name in 1960 and went on to wine ten consecutive gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show was always keen to use plants adapted by nature to thrive in different conditions.Now aged 95, she leaves the day-to-day management of the seven-acre garden to her dedicated and experienced team, among them David Ward.
The garden and nursery director says the gardens in winter may not draw the crowds of the warmer months, but they have a unique beauty.