Beth Chatto's Green Tapestry Revisited
A Guide to a Sustainably Planted Garden
The beautiful, and sustainable, perennial planting of Beth Chatto's garden, chosen to suit its varied conditions
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Thirty years after Beth Chatto first created her now famous gardens, The Green Tapestry was published, in which Beth took her readers on a conducted tour of her gardens while explaining her planting choices and experiences in making a garden with perennial plants. Now, a further thirty years on, although Beth is no longer with us, the gardens continue to demonstrate her ethos of sustainable planting, which, with climate change an ever more pressing issue, could not be more relevant today.
In Beth Chatto's Green Tapestry Revisited, David Ward and Åsa Gregers-Warg, who worked alongside Beth for many years and still work at the gardens today, have updated her guide to her gardens, adding new text where areas of the garden have been substantially remodelled and replanted since the first edition, in particular the Gravel Garden, the Woodland Garden and the Reservoir Garden, with an updated directory of Beth's favourite perennial plants.
Beth's gardens at Elmstead Market were, in many ways, ahead of their time. Beth's knowledge as a plantswoman, derived in part from her husband Andrew's research into plants in their natural habitats, also came from her own extensive practical experience. She set out to garden using only those plants that thrived in the available conditions - damp or dry, sun or shade. It was her talent for observation, her enthusiasm for learning, and her never-ending interest in the foliage, form and texture of her preferred perennials, as much as in their flower colour, that made her a unique voice in British gardening.
Illustrated with specially commissioned photography by Steven Wooster, who was Beth's preferred photographer of her gardens, this new edition is a timely tribute to Beth's work. Julia Boulton, Beth's granddaughter and the CEO of Beth Chatto's Plants and Gardens, hopes that it will inspire a new generation of gardeners to plant in tune with nature and create their own exquisite 'green tapestry' of perennial plants suited to their own conditions.
Beth Chatto (1923-2018) was the most influential British plantswoman of her generation. She was the inspiration behind the ‘right plant, right place’ ethos that lies at the heart of sustainable gardening. She wrote some of the best-loved gardening books of the 20th-century, among them The Dry Garden, The Damp Garden, and Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden. She was created OBE in 2002 and also held the Royal Horticultural Society’s Victoria Medal of Honour. Steven Wooster is a designer and photographer. He has photographed the gardens of a number of influential garden designers and his photographs have illustrated Beth's many gardening books. He exhibited two conceptual garden designs at the Hampton Court Flower Show and his interest in sustainability found expression in The Upcycled Garden, which showcases his own designs for recycled projects. David Ward in Garden and Nursery Director at Beth Chatto's Plants and Gardens. Åsa Gregers-Warg is Head Gardener at Beth Chatto's Plants and Gardens.
"In celebration of Beth Chatto OBE and her world-famous and award-winning gardens, created more than 60 years ago near Colchester Essex, her original book has been fully revised and updated, featuring descriptions and photographs showing how the gardens have developed since. Taking in the wisdom of our most influential plantswoman of the century should provide ample inspiration for those who wonder at her brilliant, sustainably planted gardens."
"This classic book helped frame my thinking when I was learning about gardening. There are new chapters and photographs and updated planting plans. It would make a wonderful Christmas present for a gardener."
"Looks at how, following her principles, Beth's garden has been remodelled and replanted...reinforcing the ever-changing and adaptable nature of sustainable gardening, and offering advice on plants suited to different conditions."
"The first edition of this book was published in 1989...30 years hence, the book is as relevant now as it was then, with additional text and images bringing it up to date."
"The classic of 30 years ago, revised and updated by Beth Chatto's gardener-collaborators, with some excellent new photography."
"An updated and revised text of a gardening classic that tackled the issue of sustainability long before it became mainstream, with contributions from David Ward and Asa Gregers-Warg who both work at Chatto’s groundbreaking garden and nursery in Essex."