Gravel Garden Creation and Maintenance
Gravel Garden Creation and Maintenance

Learn how Beth created her world famous Gravel Garden and how the garden team now maintain it.

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3rd May 2022 IN Advice & Guides
Species tulips and how to grow them
Species tulips and how to grow them

The key to success with all plants is understanding their origins, helping you to realise their preferred growing conditions and specific requirements. Tulips grow wild high up in the mountains and valleys of Europe and Central Asia, indicating they are adapted to growing in free-draining, rocky soils in extreme conditions. Summers here are long, hot and dry, with cold winters bringing heavy rainfall.                        

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21st March 2022 IN Advice & Guides
Getting Started in Gardening
Getting Started in Gardening

For people who enjoy plants and gardens, and for people working in horticulture, one big question we ask is “how can we get more people interested in gardening?”

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3rd March 2022 IN Advice & Guides
Measuring the rainfall at The Beth Chatto Gardens
Measuring the rainfall at The Beth Chatto Gardens

The rainfall at Beth Chatto's has been measured continuously since 1953. Initially, it was recorded as a practical tool for the Chatto fruit farm monitoring how much rainfall the trees were receiving.

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4th February 2022 IN Advice & Guides
How to grow and get the best from your hostas
How to grow and get the best from your hostas

Hostas are a firm favourite loved by gardeners and collectors. A vast range of cultivars and forms are available offering different shapes, sizes, colours and textures.

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4th January 2022 IN Advice & Guides
The Sand Bank
The Sand Bank

Following the removal of two large Leyland cypress trees and a few old shrubs from the Gravel Garden, a substantial area was made available for replanting.

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4th November 2021 IN Advice & Guides
Easy-to-grow autumn bulbs and corms for naturalised drifts of colour
Easy-to-grow autumn bulbs and corms for naturalised drifts of colour

Over time, some autumn bulbs multiply and create drifts; they naturalise, flowering en masse through grass, under trees, in gravel or through ground cover plants. 

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18th October 2021 IN Advice & Guides
What happened when we stopped mowing the grass?
What happened when we stopped mowing the grass?

No-mow May - what happens when you stop mowing? Which plants and wildlife appear that weren't there before? We stopped mowing an area of Essex grassland and the results are incredible...

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17th August 2021 IN Advice & Guides
Ten top plants to bring wildlife into your garden
Ten top plants to bring wildlife into your garden

Which plants will encourage the most wildlife to your garden? Our wildlife expert Dr Chris Gibson, reveals the naughty and nice of the plant world

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17th June 2021 IN Advice & Guides
Plant combination ideas in June
Plant combination ideas in June

It’s that wonderful time of year when the long, warm days of summer are spread out ahead of us and with the colour of garden flowers beginning to intensify.

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2nd June 2021 IN Advice & Guides
The 21 best self-seeders in Beth's Gravel Garden
The 21 best self-seeders in Beth's Gravel Garden

Self seeders - integral to Beth's Gravel Garden design. The 21 drought-tolerant perennial, biennial and annuals which thrive in the drought tolerant conditions here in Essex.

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14th May 2021 IN Advice & Guides
Plant combination ideas in May
Plant combination ideas in May

Glorious May plant tapestries for your garden

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30th April 2021 IN Advice & Guides
The big spring cut-back
The big spring cut-back

With the worst of the weather (hopefully) out of the way and plants now waking up from their winter sleep, now is the perfect time to cut back all of last season’s spent plant material.

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12th April 2021 IN Advice & Guides
The most bee-friendly early spring plants
The most bee-friendly early spring plants

Some bees are emerging early this year and early nectar sources are so important for their survival: here are the plants we have observed them making a zoom for. Let's increase the buzz!

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23rd February 2021 IN Advice & Guides
Top 10 early spring plants
Top 10 early spring plants

It was the first time I really felt like planting this weekend... beautiful spring sunshine and the garden was calling out for attention! If you'd like some guidance on early spring plants, here are Jake's top 10 favourite plants for this time of year.

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3rd February 2021 IN Advice & Guides
Some of our favourite plants for spring
Some of our favourite plants for spring

As spring plants fly out of the nursery (we grow 90% of the plants we sell), we focus on our champions for spring.

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1st February 2021 IN Advice & Guides
Structure in the winter garden
Structure in the winter garden

Using seedheads to create winter interest is something we've always done at the Gardens, and it can benefit wildlife too. These plants create some beautifully frosty sillhouettes and are well worth leaving in place over winter for their architectural value.

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21st January 2021 IN Advice & Guides
Springtime shade plants in the woodland
Springtime shade plants in the woodland

Spring is the time for shade loving plants to come to the fore. In the woodland garden light levels are increasing, the soil is warming, plants are bursting forth. Every colour is reperesented, including a myriad green shades. Magic is in the air.....

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6th April 2020 IN Advice & Guides
Beth Chatto's must-have spring plants
Beth Chatto's must-have spring plants

Some of the best spring plants for your Garden, chosen from Beth's 100 must-have plants

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1st April 2020 IN Advice & Guides
Indispensable Elephant’s ears, bergenia
Indispensable Elephant’s ears, bergenia

Elephant’s ears, bergenia are one of the most indispensable and widely used evergreen plants here. Unfortunately, the genus does suffer from the fact that many people consider them untidy, rather boring and a perfect home for slugs and snails.

Very often seen in large sprawling mats of creeping rhizomes and fitting of this such bad press perfectly is...

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30th March 2020 IN Advice & Guides
Top 10 plants for Autumn Interest
Top 10 plants for Autumn Interest

Which plants will carry on looking good throughout autumn and into winter? Our Plant Manager, Jake, reveals his favourites.

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12th September 2019 IN Advice & Guides
Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival – the plants!
Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival – the plants!

Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival- plants used in our show garden.

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9th July 2019 IN Advice & Guides
How the gardens are coping in these extreme conditions
How the gardens are coping in these extreme conditions

The impact of the summer heatwave on our plants and gardens; our head gardener Åsa Gregers-Warg explains what we're doing to mitigate the effects here in the driest part of the UK, and the Gravel Garden plants (never irrigated) which are still doing well.

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24th July 2018 IN Advice & Guides
50 days without rain and counting
50 days without rain and counting

How the Gravel Garden is surviving without rain (it is never irrigated) and the plants that can help prepare your garden against future drought.

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20th July 2018 IN Advice & Guides
RHS PLANT FINDER
RHS PLANT FINDER

Do you use the RHS Plant Finder to find which nursery sells the plants you are looking for? Each year, we send off our submissions, and the current issue also includes this feature from the Beth Chatto Gardens...

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15th February 2018 IN Advice & Guides
How to make a Christmas wreath
How to make a Christmas wreath

Each year the staff at the Beth Chatto Gardens get together for a wreath-making evening in December. Here's how to make your own wreath.

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14th December 2017 IN Advice & Guides
Make a Dogwood Heart
Make a Dogwood Heart

A simple, but lovely alternative to a wreath is a dogwood heart decoration

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14th December 2017 IN Advice & Guides
Planting successfully in Summer
Planting successfully in Summer

Planting in summer may well be more hard work than at other times of the year, but providing it’s done properly, you should find you’ve set your plants up for life.  Beth and her husband, Andrew, embraced the conditions that were given to them here in Essex and made the decision to work with what they had, rather than trying to fight against it. 

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17th August 2017 IN Advice & Guides
How to grow herbs and what to do with them
How to grow herbs and what to do with them

We love herbs! Not only do they look pretty in containers and borders, attract bees and butterflies, but they also smell and taste delicious

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31st July 2017 IN Advice & Guides
Hemerocallis (Day lily)
Hemerocallis (Day lily)

They’re not particularly fashionable I suppose, but if there’s one reliable perennial you should have for your garden it’s got to be the day lily...but it is a travesty to eat them...

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13th July 2017 IN Advice & Guides
Top 10 Moisture-Loving Plants
Top 10 Moisture-Loving Plants

For a lot of people a constantly damp or boggy soil is potentially a problem, but that needn’t be the case. There are many plants that will survive and indeed thrive in such conditions. I feel these plants should be considered for your own garden if you have a wet or damp soil.

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22nd June 2017 IN Advice & Guides
Marginal Maintenance
Marginal Maintenance

Having spent the first few days of June jumping in and out of the ponds here at The Beth Chatto Gardens, catching up with some long overdue maintenance, I suddenly remembered I was due to write a piece on this very subject! I was also reminded that attempting to walk backwards wearing waders with my feet stuck in the underlying mud and clay is somewhat foolhardy...

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13th June 2017 IN Advice & Guides
Alliums
Alliums

The Gravel Garden simply wouldn’t be the same without alliums. A fabulous bulb for anyone creating their own drought-resistant garden. They are dramatic, decorative and best of all, easy to grow. They can add so much to the look of a border with their spherical heads. Just make sure you can give them a free-draining, light soil with plenty of sunshine, and you will be guaranteed success.

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11th May 2017 IN Advice & Guides
Aerating your lawn
Aerating your lawn

After a winter of compaction April is a good time to consider aerating your lawn. We use a 1.8m wide verti-drainer which is in effect 6 large forks mounted on the back of our lawn tractor. The lawns here were created over the existing soil and as such, there is not a dedicated drainage system to relieve wet areas. We have over the years added drains to help this situation.

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13th April 2017 IN Advice & Guides
Spring-cleaning grasses
Spring-cleaning grasses

We have ornamental grasses growing in every area of the garden, and it’s possible to find one suitable for every type of condition, from shade to sun, damp loving to drought tolerant. 

Here at Beth Chatto, we tend to use them as single specimens so that their full shape and habit can be appreciated, something that is often lost in mass plantings.

In the last two years, timing when to trim grasses has been the trickiest issue, because the winters have been so mild...

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23rd February 2017 IN Advice & Guides
Hellebores in winter
Hellebores in winter

A welcome sight in late winter and early spring, the hellebore provides a feast for the eye.  Christmas rose or Lenten rose as they are commonly known come in hundreds of different varieties and providing you have a part-shaded or fully shaded spot with a humus rich soil and good drainage, then growing hellebores is easy.

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11th January 2017 IN Advice & Guides
Potted dwarf bulbs and why we prefer to plant bulbs in the Spring
Potted dwarf bulbs and why we prefer to plant bulbs in the Spring

Although autumn is the best time to buy and plant spring-flowering dry bulbs, from the usual such as daffodils, tulips, crocus to the less common and slightly trickier to establish woodlanders such as trilliums and wood anemones. it’s not the ideal time for deciding exactly where to place them...

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10th January 2017 IN Advice & Guides
Easy shrubs for exquisite winter fragrance
Easy shrubs for exquisite winter fragrance

Commonly known as Christmas or sweet box, the delicate creamy-white flowers of sarcococca appear from December to March.  Their scent never fails to lift the spirits even on the dullest of mid-winter days...

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1st January 2017 IN Advice & Guides
Plants from the RHS Wisley Flower Show
Plants from the RHS Wisley Flower Show

Plants that are looking good in September

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17th September 2016 IN Advice & Guides
THE OLD RESERVOIR GARDEN
THE OLD RESERVOIR GARDEN

By many regarded as somewhat of a transition between the Water Garden and the Woodland Garden, the area was predominantly planted with low maintenance trees and shrubs, interspersed with a few herbaceous perennials and grasses.

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11th August 2016 IN Advice & Guides
 
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