Every gardener has their own style, their own way of embracing and enjoying this earth of ours. From soil manipulation to color combinations, each gardener defines beauty in their own way. Many garden designers or landscape gardeners have impacted the thought processes of those of us who love getting our hands dirty and then stepping back to admire our personal vision of beauty in our gardens. Beth Chatto is one who has inspired my garden journey and still does. The Society of Garden Design chose Beth Chatto as this years recipient of The John Brookes Lifetime Acheivement Award for 2014. Who is Beth Chatto???
When I think of gardens to visit in England, the first one that pops into my mind are The Beth Chatto Gardens, cultivated out of property that used to be the Chatto fruit farm. It is from this property that Beth Chatto has cultivated a series of gardens specific to certain conditions all exhibiting surreal beauty. Born in 1923 in Essex, Beth had parents who instilled in her the love of gardening. From this exposure she went on to share her love of gardening by becoming heavily involved in the Flower Club movement. This movement allowed her to become a much requested lecturer and provider of some unusual plants. These rare, unusual plants intrigued the The Flower Club members and they began to inquire about purchasing them from her. The mail order plant business and nursery was started in 1967 and from there it has only been a rewarding experience leading up to this prestigious award. The Beth Chatto Gardens were influenced not just from her love of gardening but also by her husbands research in plants, plant families and how they grew. Her desire to paint this picture of beauty on ground that was wild and imperfect, shows us all how we can create our own pictures of beauty, whether we have perfect soil and conditions or not. Two of my favorite books, that I referenced when I seriously became enamored with gardening and finding all things beautiful are The Green Tapestry – Choosing and Grouping The Best Perennial Plants for Your Garden and Drought Resistant Planting – Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden. I am honored to have these on my personal garden book shelves…..and never tire of reflecting back on them from time to time. Her words within these pages continue to excite and bring me joy in the discovery of the possibilities of what can grown here on my American soil.
Beth Chatto has won ten Gold Medals at the Chelsea Flower Show, has published several books, toured America in 1983, received the Lifetime Acheivement Award by The Garden Writers Guild, celebrated fifty years of The Beth Chatto Gardens being existence (and going strong) and now this wonderful award. How awesome is that??? While Mrs. Chatto was not able to receive this award personally, her grandaughter Julia Boulton accepted it on her behalf. How wonderful it must be for Beth Chatto to have cultivated not only a garden that is open to the public to inspire and educate , but to have also planted the seed of continuity in her grand daughter and staff, to continue her mission of creating gardens that share the beauty that surrounds us.
Thank you Beth Chatto for your sharing your knowledge and inspiration in your lectures, your books and in The Beth Chatto Gardens. I hope to visit one day and enjoy your version of the beauty that surrounds us. To find out more about Beth Chatto follow this link www.bethchatto.co.uk/ – the pictures alone will have you planning a visit at any time of the year.by