Beth Chatto #40Gardens

My friend Ellie, from Wellies On, gave me a years pass to The Beth Chatto Gardens, and it was always going to be the place I visited first.  Not only is the planting an inspiration, but the nursery will afford me the great opportunity to pick up a few birthday treats!

This is an inspiring garden developed by the plantswoman Beth Chatto on the outskirts of Colchester.  Working with a difficult site prompted Beth to develop her motto, ‘Right plant, right place.’

View across the water garden

View across the water garden

She worked with the land, forming the structure of the garden around the conditions it offered, from the dry, nutrient poor soil in the upper section, down to the water logged, boggy terrain where the rain collected.

The result is a wonderful environment, offering a great range of planting.  In the new year I’ll be looking at our scrappy front yard, and on this visit to Beth Chatto’s I’m particularly interested in finding inspiring planting for a gravel garden.  For the last 9 years our front garden has looked like a dump, which has evolved into a builders yard, but will hopefully be transformed in 2018.

The purple of this Achillea’s umbel seed heads add interest and colour to the Gravel Garden

The purple of this Achillea’s umbel seed heads add interest and colour to the Gravel Garden

Melianthus major

Melianthus major

Agapanthus seed heads

Agapanthus seed heads

I’ve been reading my way through Beth Chatto’s ‘The Damp Garden’, looking for inspiration to pad out my own little water garden too.  It was because of a previous visit that I brought Gunnera maniculata and Petisites japonica, two impressively big plants that will eventually take over the damp ground around the modest wildlife pond.

The small wildlife pond I planted earlier this year, with Gunnera manipulate, Petasites japonica, Lynchnis flos-cuculi, Juncus effuses spiralis, Cyperus longus and Baldellia ranunculoides

The small wildlife pond I planted earlier this year, with Gunnera manipulate, Petasites japonica, Lynchnis flos-cuculi, Juncus effuses spiralis, Cyperus longus and Baldellia ranunculoides

Tabby Knight