Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden : Drought-Resistant Planting Throughout the Year

By Beth Chatto


The author of several gardening classics, including The Dry Garden and The Damp Garden, British horticulturist Beth Chatto has once again documented her gardening adventures in Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden.

A woman with a true love of soil (no matter how temperamental) and plant life, Chatto set out to create a lovely, viable garden in her gravelly, sandy soil. The challenge to find flowers and shrubs that would survive and thrive in this dry environment became an eight-year experiment that resulted in a beautiful, original gravel garden ranging over three-quarters of an acre. Chatto takes us through the process step by step, beginning with conceptualisation.

How can she turn a former parking lot into a prospering garden? She notes that We all find a haze of bluebells beneath beeches, primroses on clay soil beneath oaks, or a damp meadow golden with buttercups more magical than anything we can create. However, in our gardens we look for more. We learn to make plant associations that extend the season, to create pictures worth living with throughout the year. Season by season, year by year, Chatto records the planting and maintenance of her gravel garden, reveling in the fecundity and tenacity of nature.

Her prose is clear, concise, and at times dryly academic. Readers who have a wide knowledge of botany and an understanding of the Latin names of plants will have a leg up on more casual gardeners. Filled with pictures by Steven Wooster, who has photographed many of Chatto’s gardens, the book is a visual delight. The vibrant ruby petals of clematis leap off the page and you can almost feel the spiny green stalks of the Onopordum acanthium.

Dang! We just sold this one. Well done you for stumbling upon this page; we are in the process of removing this listing.

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