Beth Chatto (born 27/06/1923) was a plantswomen, gardener and writer. Whilst having no formal horticultural training, she was inspired by her parents' enthusiastic gardening, her husband's lifelong study of natural associations of plants, and friendship with the great plantsman and artist Sir Cedric Morris. The Beth Chatto Gardens began at Elmstead Market, Essex in 1960. By applying the principles of ecological gardening, she transformed an overgrown area of wasteland into informal gardens that harmonise with the surrounding countryside. Complementing the gardens is a large plant nursery producing a wide range of unusual plants, which attracts thousands of visitors each year. She won ten Gold Medals the Chelsea Flower Show and was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Victoria Medal of Honour (1987), the Lawrence Memorial Medal and an honorary doctorate from Essex University. She was the author of many books including her classics The Dry Garden (1978) and The Damp Garden (revised 2004) as well as Beth Chatto's Gravel Garden (2000) and Beth Chatto's Woodland Garden (2002). An engaging exchange of letters with Christopher Lloyd, Dear Friend and Gardener, was published in 1998. In 2002 she was awarded the OBE for her services to horticulture. A keen advocate of organic gardening, she lectured worldwide. She died in 2018.
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