Six on a Saturday, 19.5.18 Beth Chatto Special Edition.

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  1. Beth Chatto, who died this week, was the most influential gardener in my life, apart from my mum. When I discovered her books and then her garden, I was smitten. I loved her philosophy of “right plant, right place”, now such a cliche, but originally quite new. So, I have rather hurriedly put together six plants which I got from her or originally saw in her garden. The first, is a simple Nigella. So easy from seed and such a useful gap filler.

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2. Beth could do it all: dry, shade, bog, woodland. It is what makes her garden so special. Iris sibirica is such a ravishing plant in flower and sits best beside a pond, bog or damp area. It will grow in a moist border and leaves fine seed heads for winter.

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3. Epimedium youngianum nivium. Rubbish photo, but I first saw Epimediums in Beth’s woodland garden and had to have them. It took me a while to understand how much shade they need and how much humus, but I have got there in the end. Perhaps this is not quite, right plant, right place then!

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4. Gravel garden. This is the one right outside my house, on the Chelsea Fringe tour next Saturday(it’s free, 11-1pm in Walthamstow, why not come?) It is a homage to Beth Chatto. Following her principles of low/no watering and relying on plant choice, I am proud to say that this bed (in its second year) is starting to look really good. The plant to the right, Marrubium labanoticum, was purchased at Beth Chatto’s nursery.

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5. Another gravel garden. On a hot hillside round the corner, this garden for my neighbours was planted in March, but is already starting to look good. Again, low/no watering and very low maintenance, I have Beth Chatto to thank for it.

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6. Cambrian poppies. Didn’t plant them, didn’t have anything to do with them, just had the knowledge to know not to weed them out. Beth Chatto taught that plants will find their own perfect niches and our job is to let them get on with it, with only a bit of refereeing now and then. I am sad to see her go, but know that she will live on in countless gardens across the world.

15 thoughts on “Six on a Saturday, 19.5.18 Beth Chatto Special Edition.

  1. I managed to visit her garden a couple of years ago – it is lovely as is the nursery. So many beautiful plants and Beth herself is such a wonderful inspiration to all gardeners. She had a long and worthwhile life and as you say, she will live on in many gardens all around the world. My own mini gravel garden was inspired by hers even though I have no shortage of the wet stuff!

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  2. This is a lovely tribute. I haven’t been to Beth Chatto’s garden, and would like to. I would hope it will be maintained? I heard her Granddaughter on the radio and it sounded like there is a Trust to keep it all going.

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  3. Wonderful post and six. Much of what we take for granted today Beth led the way on. I’ve been walking around the garden today, looking at plants I bought from her nursery, wondering if the nursery stocked them because she said they should. I know that even in her declining years, she was very much in control. She stands with Christo as the two people who have had the greatest influence on my gardening.

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  4. Someone else showed off Cambrian poppies. I had never heard of them. The name sounds nice. There are two Cambrias in California. One is a scenic town near where I went to school. The other was an old village that was eaten by San Jose decades ago, so is now a district known as Cambrian Park.

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  5. Lovely tribute post. I haven’t made it to many of the ‘big’ gardens but I did get to Beth Chatto‘s many years ago and was blown away by it.
    I let Welsh Poppies into my garden a long time ago and need to keep a tight rein on them. I prefer the yellow to the orange

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