I took the family to visit the Beth Chatto Gardens a couple of weekends ago now. It was a free entry day so I got to take loads of photos and enthuse about the plants but didn’t feel obliged to spend hours there to get my money’s worth.
The garden covers 7 acres comprising of lawns, beds and ponds in the bottom of the valley and woodland and dry areas further up the slopes. There are lots of different paths suitable for a bit of perambulating and exploring and the different age groups visiting were doing what suited them best. With bright spring foliage, the mature trees created a cohesive link throughout the garden.
The dry garden used to be a car park and gets no irrigation so is perfect inspiration in this parched spring. The erysmiums and euphorbias were looking great, spikey yuccas, grasses and alliums to come.
Sometimes seen as a problem area, the woodland is the place to see hundreds of uncurling ferns, comfrey and arums as well as a surprising pink Rubus spectabilis ‘Olympic Double’. Really cool and green with a little stream running through to the reservoir at the bottom. The yellow flower I have yet to look up!
A series of ponds, linked by bridges and streams, are generously planted with damp loving species. Ferns, irises, Persicaria and bergenia. Lots of grasses and phormiums on the banks, all beautifully reflected in the water.
I loved the self seeded forget-me-nots and the odd weed in the beds. A whole new planting scheme was taking place in a large sunny area which will showcase even more plants to illustrate Beth Chatto’s mantra ‘right plant, right place’.
The attached nursery grows and sells a lot of the plants found in the gardens. They are helpfully arranged according to habitat, dry, damp, shady and scree making it easy select what you want. There was a good choice of, mostly herbaceous, varieties and I did buy a few. Given the extensive selection on offer my quote of the day had to be “I think I’ll go for pansies they flower ok”.
And my confession of the day? I didn’t try the cake, sorry but the number of people eating must mean it’s good!