The story of how Beth Chatto created her gravel garden on 'possibly the driest, and the most windswept, piece of soil in England' has a message of hope for gardeners everywhere. At the outset she promised herself: 'This garden was not to be irrigated in times of drought. Once established the plants must fend for themselves or die.'
The results, eloquently described by the author and beautifully portrayed in Steven Wooster's specially commissioned photographs taken through the seasons, testify to the triumphant outcome of the adventure.
Showing how her principles can be applied on any scale, this book is an essential read for any gardener facing water shortages and poor soil. Rich with hard-won tips and expressed in Beth Chatto's matchless style, this is a gardening classic.
Beth Chatto (born 27/06/1923) was a plantswomen, gardener and writer. Whilst having no formal horticultural training, she was inspired by her parents' enthusiastic gardening, her husband's lifelong study of natural associations of plants, and friendship with the great plantsman and artist Sir Cedric Morris. The Beth Chatto Gardens began at Elmstead Market, Essex in 1960. By applying the principles of ecological gardening, she transformed an overgrown area of wasteland into informal gardens that harmonise with the surrounding countryside. Complementing the gardens is a large plant nursery producing a wide range of unusual plants, which attracts thousands of visitors each year. She won ten Gold Medals the Chelsea Flower Show and was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Victoria Medal of Honour (1987), the Lawrence Memorial Medal and an honorary doctorate from Essex University. She was the author of many books including her classics The Dry Garden (1978) and The Damp Garden (revised 2004) as well as Beth Chatto's Gravel Garden (2000) and Beth Chatto's Woodland Garden (2002). An engaging exchange of letters with Christopher Lloyd, Dear Friend and Gardener, was published in 1998. In 2002 she was awarded the OBE for her services to horticulture. A keen advocate of organic gardening, she lectured worldwide. She died in 2018.
Award-winning photographer STEVEN WOOSTER specializes in the photography of gardens and plants. He lives in London.