The Beth Chatto gardens were begun in 1960 on an overgrown wasteland. The soil was poor gravel and boggy hollows. The former boggy hollow is now a water garden with 5 large ponds.
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Many plants add greenery. In the autumn tall grasses add their colours. The woodland adds colour in spring and autumn while bulbs bloom in the spring. In the autumn Japanese anemones and colchicums bloom. Gunnera tinctoria look like upside down parasols.
Added is a gravel garden filled with drought loving plants to mimic a winding dried up river bed. Alliums, kniphofias, verbascums, and flowering grasses thrive here. There are also groupings of ballota, lavandula, and santolina.
Beth Chatto Gardens
Elmstead Market, Colchester, Essex
on the A133 east of Colchester
Tel. 0 1206 822007
Open: March-end Oct, Mon-Sat, 9am-5pm, Sun 10am-5pm; Nov-end Feb, Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm, Sun 10am-4pm
Web: Beth Chatto Gardens