Beth Chatto is 7.5 acres of garden, based on ecological planting: the right plant for the right place. Created by award-winning gardener, author and lecturer Beth Chatto OBE VMH, who won 10 gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show, in the 70s and 80s. Graham went to visit in June 2020.
This was our second trip after lock-down. We had already been to Hyde Hall, so we knew the form of booking a time slot that didn’t look too busy and trying not to miss it! The weather was forecast good but somehow it managed to rain just enough to be a slightly irritating – some things never change. Beth Chatto is not a large garden, so it was no surprise to find there was a one-way system – round the gravel garden first before entering the main area. At that point, not too different from a normal visit.
As we entered the main garden, I am pleased to say it remains in beautiful condition, lockdown had not stopped the Beth Chatto workers from keeping the garden in wonderful shape. However, if you are now expecting a commentary on the different plants, I am afraid I am going to disappoint you, but there are pictures in our gallery and on our Facebook Page for those interested in how beautiful it looks.
Distancing was not a problem (maybe the rain had discouraged some people) and there was plenty to see, but sadly it was not quite the same when forced to follow a prescribed route. The lack of freedom certainly took something away. We had a good look around and wandered as much as we could, but far too quickly we found ourselves browsing the plant centre at the end of the route. The café/restaurant was closed and there was no takeaway service, so like other visitors, we braved the picnic area for lunch before we left.
I feel as though I have been a little unkind with this visit report, however in truth it just wasn’t the same. (How many times have we said that recently!). In an ideal world, we would have lingered longer, but it’s all changed – not for better, but maybe forever. Despite this, I do feel it’s important to do normal things during this somewhat surreal period to ensure gardens like Beth Chatto are still here to be enjoyed during better times.
To that end, instead of booking a one-off ticket, Carol joined as a member and took me as her guest. It was a bit more expensive, but if we visit a couple of times this year there’ll be no difference. If we don’t visit another couple of times this year, then the money will have been well spent anyway giving this remarkable garden the chance to survive. As they say, use it or lose it and that goes for a whole rake of things at the moment.
Visit Beth Chatto
Beth Chatto is a beautiful and extraordinary garden to visit. You can find out more about what Beth Chatto offers by visiting their website.