Beth Chatto’s ‘radical’ garden to be protected by Historic England
PUBLISHED: 00:01 21 August 2020
Prestigious gardens in Colchester have been given additional protection after being recognised by Historic England.
The Beth Chatto Gardens will be added to the National Heritage List for England to help protect their future.
The gardens were one of 24 locations across the UK to be added to the list and one of only three in the East of England.
The designation gives the gardens a status equal to that of a listed building when it comes to the planning system.
The seven-acre gardens were created by garden designer and plantswoman Beth Chatto in the village of Elmstead Market.
They are considered significant in the terms of the history of English gardens.
Mrs Chatto began work on the site in the 1960s and was still working with her team on planting there up until her death in 2018.
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She was an advocate of using plants that worked in harmony with local conditions and her ‘right plant, right place’ philosophy, radical at the time, still shapes gardening today.
When she began work on the Beth Chatto Gardens the site was an area of wilderness, unsuitable for conventional gardening.
Now, however, the space is made up of a series of linked gardens which suit both dry and water logged soils; the space features areas such as the Mediterranean Garden, the Gravel Garden, the Reservoir Garden and the Water Garden.
Mrs Chatto used a series of footpaths, terraces, mature oak trees, stepped ponds and a canalised drainage ditch, as well as her own house, to create a structural framework.
She also drew on her knowledge of the artistic principles of ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging.
The structural framework for Beth Chatto’s pioneering design survives virtually intact today and are open to the public to visit.
Tony Calladine, regional director of Historic England in the East of England said: “These past few months have taught us that our green open spaces improve the quality of the environment around us, are good for our wellbeing and give us breathing space.
“This project shines a light on some amazing historic landscapes that exist all over the country, celebrating how they enhance our lives, and helping to protect them for generations to come.”
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