Since reopening after lockdown, the benefit to visitors of the serene, calming gardens in Elmstead Market, Essex, has been all the more evident. People have referred to Beth Chatto’s award-winning gardens as ‘my safe place’, ‘my quiet time’, ‘my inspiration’, ‘my escape’. There has been a palpable sense of relief that it’s possible to wander around them once more.
Beth’s gardens are based on the concept of ecological planting – working with nature, rather than against it to create a beautiful haven where the ecosystem is wonderfully balanced. This sense of equilibrium and serenity can be felt throughout. The plants in the Gravel Garden are never irrigated but are adapted to suit the dry conditions, looking their best or relying on their natural coping mechanisms even when water is scarce. The Water Gardens are fed by a natural spring. Descending into their calming space on a warm day is like entering an oasis. The Woodland garden offers a generous canopy of oaks, with a woodland floor filled with plants that thrive in the dappled shade.
Beth’s contribution to horticulture was her teaching on sustainable planting – working with nature and ‘right plant, right place. For this she won an OBE, the Victoria Medal of Honour, and countless awards. She also wrote eight best-selling gardening books. Her gardens and plant nursery, brimming with much sought-after plants, are open to all.
The Silent Space
While visitors tend to experience lowered stress levels and a feeling of calm throughout the Gardens, there is a special place for quiet contemplation in the Reflection Garden, at the edge of the Woodland Garden. Here loved ones are remembered with dedicated plaques while benches in picturesque spots invite you to rest, reflect and rejuvenate.
- Web link: www.bethchatto.co.uk
For booking and opening times please see the Garden's website.