This weekend was spent with two of my best friends in The Beth Chatto Gardens just outside of Colchester. I’d received a few vouchers for Christmas and was super eager to purchase some plants for my garden to help liven up the big, bare patch of soil in the middle of the garden.
It was a fairly nice day, the sun dipping in and out of the clouds, and we took a stroll around the gardens looking for inspiration. Lizzie and Nancy have started to take a keen interest in their own gardens too this past year, so we all were sharing knowledge and ideas which was lovely.
There’s a few different sections to wander around, but for £6.95 it was little underwhelming to be entirely honest (especially after visiting such a huge garden such as RHS). However, even though it was small, it was still quite stunning.
Little bridges, sloping pathways and rockeries dotted around, all teeming with various varieties of plants such as Bamboo, Magnolia, Cordylines and Alliums.
We spent half an hour or so wandering around and chatting about plants, garden goals and many other things that weren’t to do with either subject. I took quite a few photographs, not just for pleasure, but for inspiration and so I could remember the names of the plants that caught my eye (as most of the shrubs had labels sticking out of the earth next to them- handy).
Once we had our fill of the gardens we decided to chill in the tearooms and enjoy some much needed afternoon tea. The tearooms were really quaint; each table offering a small cutting of beautiful flowers in different jugs, small pots and vases. Each wall contained information about Beth Chatto and the gardens; the history, establishment and details of the nursery, all with stunning photographs and videos to match. The food was AMAZING too. Pots of clotted cream and jam to go with the largest scones on earth, and individual pots of tea (or green tea in my case – fussy). Perfect.
After our sit-down we ventured into the Nursery to explore some more and fill our trolleys full of goodies. It started to rain and Lizzie and I were huddled under her umbrella still filling the trolley with exciting new plants neither of us has ever grown, whilst Nancy tested out the indoors gift shop area.
Rows and rows of plants in their infancy – all labelled with pictures of the established plant too, to make it easier for the amateur gardener. I knew I wanted Perennials, and a mixture of sized shrubs so spent a good half hour hunting for the perfect ones. I ended up with Hosta ‘Guacamole’, Euphoria, a collection of Sedums, a beautiful Dicentra and several more shrubs. I plan to plant the Sedums in a shallow but large terecotta pot with gravel and stones to make more of an interesting display. We saw many of these pots dotted around and Lizzie helped me select a handful of Sedums that were all roughly 5cm in ultimate height, so they would be brilliant for a shallow container display.
I fell in love with this Orange tree – I think it is an Acer (possibly ‘Orange Dream’ – feel free to correct me) but they were too expensive unfortunately. I’ve got a square patch to fill and would love a striking image in the middle. I had originally wanted an old rowing boat or wooden wheelbarrow as a centre piece, but now I’m thinking a container grown tree like this would look stunning as a centre-piece instead. I’m still constantly thinking about what to do, but I couldn’t resist buying a load of plants already so will have to improvise as I go along.
I just have to wait for a moment to weed the area and plant them all out – will be a challenge as I need to research the heights and spreads before plonking them in anywhere! But I’m dead chuffed with The Beth Chatto Gardens selection and prices, and recommend a visit.