Meet the Team
Julia Managing Director, joined the business as an employee October 2012
Julia is Beth’s eldest grandchild, she has never known a time without the gardens.
‘although we lived in the Midlands, where my father was based, we would regularly visit my grandparents, my brother and I would have great fun running wild in the garden whilst the grown ups talked about plants etc…’
During my adolescence we would spend the whole of our summer holidays at the gardens and I remember both Dave and Gerard from that time. It’s amazing for me to realise that at that time Beth was in the middle of her Chelsea fame – she was so generous with her time for us and I hold those memories dear.
As an adult Beth was a great support to me, helping me through university, encouraging ambition and independence – she was an inspiration and I’m lucky to be her granddaughter.
As Beth grew increasingly frail and worried about the future of the gardens, I knew that I had to offer my help, thankfully I had the support of my husband and young children 6yr and 8yr and we uprooted from the Midlands to Essex in 2013.
My background is in general management at Donington Park (Race Track) – very different to horticulture, but the practical aspects of running a business are transferable and luckily Beth already had a brilliant plant and garden team. As well as business acumen I bring a deep love for the gardens, a tie to it’s history and ambition for the future.
I’m so grateful to have spent six years working with Beth at the gardens, learning more about her as a business woman and horticulturist. She could see how successful her gardens continued to be and knew it was in safe hands.
David Garden and Nursery Director at The Beth Chatto Gardens, where he has worked for over thirty-five years. Also, is a Trustee of the Beth Chatto Education Trust. Initial horticultural training at the Norfolk College of Agriculture and Horticulture and awarded the John Innes Trustees Cup for best horticultural student in 1976. Followed by a 3 year O.N.D in Nursery Practices at Merrist Wood College, Surrey, UK, which included work experience at Bressingham Gardens wholesale nursery, Norfolk, UK and in Boskoop, Holland. Further growing and propagation experience gained on large tree and shrub nurseries in the UK. Followed by three years at the retail firm of Avon Bulbs, Somerset, UK. Came to work for Beth in June 1983, drawing on his own experience of nursery work and plant propagation with working alongside Beth Chatto, learning her propagation techniques and eventually running the nursery as Propagation Manager, allowing Beth to concentrate on her garden. Involved more in the garden during the 1990’s as the propagating team grew and Beth spent more time nursing her husband, writing and travelling. Including assisting in the planning and creation of the Gravel and Woodland Gardens. Directly involved with helping Beth stage the last 4 of her 10 Chelsea Gold medal winning exhibits. These days he oversees anything plant-related, specifically garden, propagation, production and plant sales. Responsible for shows, plant fairs etc.
Gerard Estate and Facilities Director at The Beth Chatto Gardens, where he has worked for over thirty-three years since College. Having spent three Summers working at the gardens during the school holidays, he started full time in 1983 and spent 2 years working in the estate team working directly under his Father Keith, Beth’s technical manager. After a year at Otley college in Suffolk studying Horticulture at level 2 and level 2 yr.3, Gerard applied for a vacant position, back at Beth’s in plant propagation and thus worked under Dave Ward on splitting and stock bed work. Gerard moved to the Technical/ Estate team where his machinery and chainsaw skills were put to good use preparing the Woodland Garden and Gravel Garden prior their planting. In 1992 he became a supervisor. In 2000 he was promoted to Estate Manager, when his father retired. In 2009 Gerard was asked to be a Director which he was honoured to accept, to help protect Beth’s legacy for the future. In 2010 Gerard qualified with a NeBoSH National Diploma in occupational Health and Safety and in 2011 a NeBoSH National Certificate in Environmental Management. These days he manages anything “Non plant”-related, specifically Estate maintenance, lawn care, Gift shop sales. Responsible for Health and Safety, Managing the Estate, Shop and the Visitor/volunteer Manager. Reporting directly to the Managing Director. ‘Beth’s is very special to me, It is an honour to work here. working together as a team, to ensure Beth’s legacy as she wished, continues for future generations.’
Åsa Head Gardener at the Beth Chatto Gardens, where she has worked since 2001. As Head Gardener, Åsa is responsible for the day-to-day upkeep and development of the gardens. Leading a small team of gardeners, trainees and volunteers, she also works closely with the nursery’s Plant Production team, as many of the plants grown in the garden are used as propagation material. Reporting directly to David Ward, Garden and Nursery Director. Åsa’s career in horticulture started as an intern at Bergianska Trädgården (Hortus Bergianus, Stockholm) Sweden. Having completed her horticultural and landscape construction studies at Säbyholms Naturbruksgymnasium, she went on to work at Brunnsvikens Trädgård, a nursery and garden centre on the outskirts of Stockholm. Keen to further expand her plant knowledge, Åsa wrote a letter to Beth, who’s style and approach to gardening she much admired, asking if there were any vacancies. In 2001 she took up residence in the caravan next to Beth’s vegetable patch and spent the summer working on the nursery, before joining the garden team full time. Over the next decade Åsa took on more and more responsibilities as Beth gradually stepped back from the daily running of the gardens. Having worked closely with Beth over the years, Åsa has gained an invaluable insight and understanding of the garden’s underlying philosophy and planting principles. Together with her team she continues to care for the gardens and pass on her knowledge, ensuring that Beth’s legacy is being carried forward.
My grandparents and parents were keen gardeners and I caught the bug in early childhood. After a fine art degree, travel, and a short career in picture research, I had a career change and got my first gardening position at Queen Mary's Gardens in Regent's Park, London, in 2004. I visited Beth Chatto Gardens as part of a garden design diploma around 2007, and when my partner and I decided to move out of London in 2011, I was lucky enough to secure the position of gardener at Beth Chatto's.
After working in the print trade for 15 years, a growing passion for gardening led Scott to retrain at Writtle University College gaining a practical qualification in horticulture. He worked in several positions such as garden nurseries, as part of a maintenance team and as an estate gardener before setting up his own garden design and maintenance business. Scott joined the garden team at Beth Chatto’s part time in April 2021 before starting full time in October 2021. Scott holds a BTEC Level 3 Sub. Diploma in Horticulture.
Emily Production Manager at The Beth Chatto Gardens, where she has worked for over thirty years. Emily started working during her school holidays, later becoming a Saturday girl. She started working full time in 1991 and spent time working alongside Beth and David Ward in many areas of the business. As Beth shared her passion for flower arranging and propagating plants, Emily soon found her own love for growing plants. In 2014 she became Production Manager, reporting to David Ward, Garden and Nursery Director. Emily is responsible for leading a team of six, each playing a crucial role in the day to day running of the production department, with help from trainees and volunteers. She overseas stock bed maintenance, cuttings, splits, seed sowing and stock control, along with many other production duties and ongoing developments in her department. She works very closely with the Nursery and Garden managers, who all rely on each other, e.g. plant material from the garden is being used for supplying plants to the nursery. Emily feels very lucky having grown up at the Gardens working with Beth, who generously shared her wealth of horticultural knowledge and passion for plants. Emily also spent time helping Beth in her much-loved private vegetable garden. Having spent many years practicing under Beth’s watchful eye Emily, with her artistic flair, learned to produce beautiful floral arrangements for many occasions. In addition to her work in Plant Production Emily also helps with plant fairs and other external events. Emily didn’t want any formal college training to study as she felt she had the best teachers close to her. Emily keeps Beth’s ethos and legacy at the forefront by teaching others in the business, passing on her knowledge and caring for the future of the Beth Chatto Gardens
Jacob started working with us in 2007 on saturdays and then full-time from July when he left school. Learning on-the-job, Jacob spent over 8 years in our propagation team before moving over to manage our nursery sales area in 2016.
In 2020 Jacob became manager of plant production.
Working with Beth in her vegetable garden and regular conversations with her in her home has meant that from a young age Jacob has lived and breathed Beth’s horticultural teachings, and this remains core in how the nursery runs today and into the future.
Marc originally came to the Gardens when he started studying for his RHS Level 2 in 2012 and is currently completing his Level 3. Initially working in the Pack house on Mail orders, then Grounds before becoming a Production Team Leader responsible for raising plants in the stock beds. One of his favourite areas of the gardens is the Shady Walk because of it’s scented plants and also you see the house in context with it’s surroundings. Marc has worked as a reprographic designer and assurance assessor for vehicle damage amongst many other jobs. He also ran a gardening firm, maintaining lawns, hedging and trees. He remembers how Beth would tell him off about his pronunciation of Bergenia. He also has fond memories of talking to Beth about bee-keeping, she always had the first of the hives honey each year.
Nicola joined us in 2017 and spent her first year working within the production team growing and nurturing the plants from seedlings and cuttings through to when they were ready to sell. In 2018, Nicola joined the nursery sales team, throwing herself into all aspects of the job including keeping the nursery well-stocked and attractive.
Today Nicola works full-time as our nursery sales team leader, helping to ensure we maintain the high standards that we set. As a keen gardener, she loves working with our extensive range of perennial plants, in particular the native and wild species plants that Beth herself loved using in the gardens here.
Tina joined the company in 2004 and has worked in all areas of the nursery from looking after and maintaining the plants, to helping customers, and packing plants for our mail order service. Now, Tina is responsible for ensuring that all of the plants in the nursery are well-cared for and are of a high standard. Her knowledge and experience is invaluable to the team.
Mel joined the team in 2016, initially tasked with doing a lot of potting of plants for the nursery. Over the past few years, Mel has learnt all aspects of the nursery and is now responsible for looking after the plants once they have been potted and then deciding when they are rooted and ready to be released for sale.
Kirsten joined the company in February 2021 to work in our nursery sales team and has brought with her well over 30 years’ experience of working in a horticultural retail environment. Kirsten’s knowledge and hard work has meant that she’s been an excellent addition to the team.
Hen joined the company in 2002 and has worked in all areas of the nursery looking after and caring for the plants. After working predominantly within our nursery sales area, Hen now enjoys looking after the plants behind-the-scenes and picking the best plants to be sent out for the mail order service.
Heather joined our online dispatch team in March 2021 and does a fantastic job of carefully packing the plants to send to our customers all over the country.
Henrietta initially joined the company as a Beth Chatto Trainee in September 2020, spending a year working and learning all aspects of plant propagation and working in the gardens. Once the traineeship ended, Henrietta took a position within plant production focussing on the quality and quantity of stock that we have in order to propagate successfully from.
Jane joined the company in 2017 and spent the first year working within our online sales team picking and packing plant orders. She then moved across to join our nursery sales team and now enjoys looking after the plants and helping and advising customers.
Ivana joined the team in 2021 and has been learning all aspects of nursery work from picking orders, through to maintaining and looking after the plants on our nursery sales area.
Sarah joined the team in 2017 and spent four years working within our online sales team picking and packing plant orders. Now Sarah is assisting in production, helping with pricking out seedlings and taking cuttings, amongst other plant propagation tasks.
Maddie initially joined the company in 2009 working in the tearoom and shop, before moving across to the production team in 2014. Now, Maddie is a great all-rounder helping with packing plant orders, potting and other nursery production tasks.
Sharon joined our customer experience team in 2021, working in the garden entrance, shop and tearoom. In 2022, Sharon moved across to the plants team to help and learn all manner of nursery work, including picking plant orders and looking after and maintaining the plants.
Jos joined the team in 2018 working in our nursery sales area, looking after the plants and helping and advising customers. In 2021, Jos was given the responsibility of dealing with the plants team customer service, answering emails and phone calls, and assisting customers when in need of advice or assistance with placing orders.
Matt joined the Beth Chatto Customer Experience team in May 2021, working mainly in the Tearoom. He now manages the whole of the retail team, around 20 people in the Tearoom, Shop and Visitor Information Centre. Matt loves gardening, nature, photography and walking so found Beth Chatto Plant’s and Gardens the perfect place to incorporate his customer service skills with the things he loves doing most in life. ‘I love to talk to customers about the garden and where they’ve travelled from to visit for the day, when the sun is shining there is no better place to be than at Beth Chattos’. He loves all areas of the garden and often takes time to walk around it when time allows.
Irene joined the Beth Chatto Gardens in March 2014 initially working in the tearoom for one year and is now Assistant Retail Manager in the Gardeners' shop. Irene loves the customers as they are completely different to other retail outlets, she has worked in. At Beth Chatto's customers are on a special day out and not just everyday shopping. It is nice to be a part of their special day. Irene loves the Water Garden in Winter when you can see from one end almost to the other. It is such a relaxing place. Prior to working at the gardens, Irene worked for twenty-four years at a general store called C.R Supplies in Colchester but has been in retail all her life. She has many fond memories of Beth but a couple of weeks before Beth died, Beth was out in the garden talking to some school children who were one of the first BCET (Beth Chatto Education Trust) large groups. Beth was forever generous with her knowledge’.
Jill first started for Beth Chatto Gardens in 2012, working out on the nursery. She now works as part of the retail team, in the gardener’s shop. She didn’t know a thing about plants then or much about Beth Chatto Gardens. Previously Jill worked in Sudbury at Gosling’s Art Shop and Framers. Jill have always been a people’s person even now customers recognise her when they visit the shop. Jill has learned so much about plants and what Beth Chatto stands for, Right Plant Right Place and much more. Beth treated all her Staff as family, she really cared. What a wonderful lady. Jill is so pleased she got to meet Beth. An Inspiration.
Beckie has been working for Beth Chatto Gardens for just over three years being employed to work in the gardeners’ shop, previously having worked for many years for Laura Ashley in home furnishings before taking voluntary redundancy.
When covid first began she helped run the Visitors Centre welcoming customers and as we had no tearoom, also provided teas and coffees for the thirsty visitors. For a short time she helped to pack plants for home deliveries, a fast-paced role that she found enjoyable, amazed to think our plants are being sent all around the country. Now back in the shop she takes great pleasure in dressing, serving and talking to customers about the gardens.
"I'm constantly in awe of the knowledge, talents and artistry of the colleagues I works with. I truly think gardening is the best hobby, so being in such beautiful surroundings is constantly inspiring."
Elizabeth joined the Beth Chatto Garden’s Team in early May 2021, working mainly in the visitor information centre/garden entrance. Greeting customers as they come into the gardens and also educating about the gardens themselves, while providing a little bit of Beth’s history. So people can have a fully informed, educational and joyful visit to the gardens.
Of which her favourite is the water gardens, which she finds most lovely and tranquil, especially on early mornings when there is a slight bite in the air.
Elizabeth has worked many different jobs, from retail to teaching, to bug handling at the zoo, to being a camp counsellor in America for a year. Which really lit the flames for her love and desire for working with nature.
Elizabeth has been coming to Beth Chatto Gardens her whole life - living locally - since she was a young girl. “I have memories of coming here when I was little, being enamoured by the brightly coloured flowers and seeing Beth herself on hands and knees, muddy from working in the gardens.”
Jason has worked on the Estate team since May 2016. He is responsible for landscaping, tree and turfcare, hedge cutting and construction ‘I find working here is good for the sole – an oasis of calm.’ One of Jason’s favourite views of the garden appears as you walk down the slope past the kiosk and you take a deep breath with your first view of the Water Garden. Prior to working a the gardens Jason worked in London where he worked in an office, where he managed a large property portfolio of multi-let industrial properties on behalf of institutional investors.
Ben is senior Groundsman at The Beth Chatto Gardens, but started at the Gardens on work experience in 1998. He thoroughly enjoys the variety of work he carries out through the various seasons, including tree, tractor and loader work. One of Ben’s favourite area of the gardens are the stunning old oak trees around the boundaries. Prior to working at The Gardens, Ben worked for a Landscaping company and on various building sites installing fences and gates, which made him appreciate the gardens. Ben very much respected Beth and really felt he knew the real Beth. He used to take her out in the car and loved talking music with her although Beth was more a Mahler admirer and Ben’s more Beethoven!
Karalyn has worked here at The Beth Chatto Gardens since 2014 when she came on board to co-ordinate the concept of Beth Chatto Education Trust of which she is now the manager. Karalyn is the primary lead for the children’s education programme at The Trust and continues to lead the majority of the garden activity events and school visits for children. She is RHS trained and a trained Forest School leader. In addition, Karalyn manages the adult courses, special events and community initiatives at The Trust. Karalyn is passionate about the ecology of the environment and has had a love of the natural world from an early age. A graduate in Marine and Freshwater Biology she has never lost her affection for pond dipping! Karalyn is a firm wildlife enthusiast and combines this with her interest in plants and gardening in her activities at Beth Chatto Education Trust. Karalyn began working with B.T.C.V doing practical outdoor management work, then worked with London Wildlife Trust as a Summer Warden where she discovered her natural talent for working with children. She then worked for many years with Essex Wildlife Trust as an Education Officer where she enjoyed teaching many hundreds of children. She still enjoys teaching many more at the Beth Chatto Education Trust!
REDMAN Lucy been a lecturer for the Beth Chatto Gardens since 2018 establishing the Spring and Autumn Practical Gardening Courses as well as Design Your own Garden Course.
Lucy worked at the RHS Gardens, Wisely and designed/planted gardens for many years in London and East Anglia. She also assisted Xa Tollemache with the creation of 3 gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Beth Chatto visited the Lucy Redman Garden, Rushbrooke, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk in 2008 which was full of unusual plants blending with arts and crafts. She opened it regularly privately and for the NGS before moving to Manningtree in 2020.
Lucy also assists the Education Trust with the design of community spaces and development projects creating outdoor spaces for children and adults as well as nature to thrive.
Being part of the Beth Chatto family is an honour and having a view of the famous Gravel Garden from my drawing board whilst listening to the birds is fantastic. I feel very lucky to have a job which involves inspiring others to deepen their knowledge of plants whilst linking planty people together, forming lasting friendships, is a real pleasure.
Joy has worked at Beth Chatto for the past three years. Working here has allowed her to bring together life-long interests in gardening, allotments, education and the natural environment. Working as Co-ordinator for the Trust she has been able to bring her research, fundraising and community development skills to enhance the subsidised activities that the Trust can offer to schools and community groups. She has recently passed her RHS qualifications and has expanded into a teaching role with groups of young adults. Joy’s aspiration is to widen access to the Trusts education programme to include as many diverse groups as possible, that may need additional support to enjoy and benefit from the wonderful environment we have here at Beth Chattos.
Ben Has been working at the Beth Chatto Gardens since 2013. He Started working in the propagation team and moved into an IT focused roll in 2014. As such Ben has worked in most departments providing IT support and helping to use new technology while maintaining the core values of Beth’s legacy.
Leanne first came to the Beth Chatto Gardens in 2011 to complete her RHS Level 2 in Horticulture qualification to help in her work as a self-employed Gardener. Leanne joined the Beth Chatto Team in 2017 and spent the first year working for the Nursery Sales Team. In her second year, she became a Production Assistant for the Production Team, helping to propagate plants by divisions from our stockbeds. In 2019, Leanne joined our Gardens Team helping to maintain and develop all areas of the garden. During this time, Leanne began working alongside the Marketing Team, assisting with our Instagram account and photography. At the beginning of 2022, Leanne left the Garden Team to concentrate on our social media platforms and now works as Social Content Creator. Her role also involves taking photos, recording videos for our YouTube channel and writing and coordinating blogs for our website.