Beth Chatto, gardening pioneer, honoured with Horticultural Hero Award at RHS Hampton Court

Gardening pioneer, Beth Chatto OBE VMH, is to be named 2019’s Iconic Horticultural Hero at the prestigious RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival this July. Beth, who passed away in 2018, aged 94, was the founder of the Beth Chatto Gardens in Elmstead Market, Essex. Her “right plant in the right place” ethos has inspired generations of gardeners.

As part of the 2019 Hampton Court festival, a drought-resistant garden in tribute to the late Beth Chatto will be unveiled. The garden will honour the hugely influential plantswoman, as it champions her ethos of sustainable planting when gardening in difficult conditions.

Vision for sustainable gardening

The Gravel Garden in July at Beth Chatto’s Gardens: Verbena bonariensis, Bupleurum falcatum, Allium spaerocephalon, Alcea rugosa and Stipa gigantea.

Beth’s vision of sustainable gardening and “right plant in the right place” ethos is very relevant today, with gardeners increasingly looking for drought-proof planting inspiration. Award winning Beth Chatto established her own gardens built on her ethos in 1960. She won 10 consecutive Gold Medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show during the 1970s and 80s.  During her lifetime she published several gardening books, sharing her deep love and profound knowledge of plants and planting.

Her gardens and nursery are now one of the nation’s favourites. They have influenced and inspired a generation of gardeners. They continue to grow and develop with dedicated and knowledgeable staff, many of whom learnt their trade working alongside Beth Chatto.

The Woodland Garden in spring: the white blossom of Amelanchier lamarckii and atapestry of forget-me-nots, hellebores, Pulmonaria, Dicentra and other spring delights. In the foreground yellow Erythronium and glossy Colchicum leaves.
Photographer: David Ward, The Beth Chatto Garden

Drought-resistant garden

The drought-resistant show garden at this year’s RHS Hampton Court is designed by Beth Chatto’s Garden and Nursery Director, David Ward. He worked alongside Beth Chatto for over 35 years. The garden features drought-tolerant plants, with the aim of encouraging the next generation gardeners to consider a style of planting to ensure gardens are ready for the future.

David and his team will on standby to talk to visitors about Beth’s work and offer advice. Visitors to the show garden will also have the chance to win £500 worth of vouchers to spend at the Beth Chatto Gardens.

Julia Boulton, Beth Chatto’s granddaughter and Managing Director of Beth Chatto Gardens says: “We are delighted that Beth will be honoured at The Hampton Court Garden Festival. The festival is one of the highlights of the horticultural calendar. I think Beth would have been over the moon that she is being remembered in such a way.

“David and our team have worked hard on a design and planting style that remains true to Beth’s ethos of “right plant, right place”. We are looking forward to seeing the display at Hampton Court.

If you are at the event do come along and see us, look around the garden and find out more about Beth, her life and outstanding contribution to horticulture.”

View from underneath Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Dawn Redwood) across the pond. Boat is anchored next to a large clump of Pontederia cordata (Pickerel Weed)

RHS Hampton Court Flower Festival runs from 2nd to 7th July.

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