Beth Chatto in her gravel garden
This week I had the pleasure of photographing one of Britain’s best known and most respected gardeners, Beth Chatto. At the age 87, most people would be taking it easy, but not Mrs Chatto. She spent two hours being interviewed and photographed, before carrying out what is apparently normal routine in her garden – putting in new plants and doing general maintenance!
I photographed her once before, for my ‘Gardeners’ Hands’
project. On that occasion, I was in a queue behind a Japanese film crew, who were working with her before my appointment. Keeping busy must be her secret!
The Beth Chatto Gardens
are situated in Elmstead Market, Colchester and are open to visitors. Started in 1960, on what the official website describes as an overgrown wasteland, they are now known to gardeners all over the world, particularly for the ‘gravel garden
‘. It was here that Mrs Chatto innovated by matching plants to the specific growing conditions of the area, using drought tolerant plants in a part of the UK which has similar rainfall to some desert regions. For more details, see www.bethchatto.co.uk
or her book, The Gravel Garden
I was very pleased to see that the copy of the photograph ‘43 Gardeners’ Hands
‘ I sent to Mrs Chatto is now on display in the gardens’ restaurant.
43 Gardeners' Hands