One of my dream gardens to visit has been Beth Chatto's. Top of my list of 'outings' from our holiday in Lavenham in Suffolk was a day out to these gardens. Mr S did all the driving as it was still some way.
I was just so excited, that I wondered what the strange feeling was as I first arrived and could see a corner of the gravel garden as we approched the ticket office: it was the biggest beam on my face. I think it lasted all through the visit, and is here now as I sort out some of the pictures for this post.
The gardens have a very good website and you can get a better view than any of my photographs can give by visiting different pages: both the gravel garden and the scree garden were of course favourites.
I came away from the garden with photographs of individual plants that I particularly liked, which I wanted to study a little more before getting them for the garden at home: Muarrubium bourgaei All Hallows Green and Teucrium ackermannii.
Most areas for growing stock plants and the nursery areas are tantalising beyond public access but often within view, however the nursery has excellent paths and was very well stocked. I came back with three little treasures that I had seen growing which I thought would grow well in the gravel area: Verbena bonariensis 'Little One', Limonium bellidifolium and Erysimum pulchellum. From the shop I bought a rather nice grey bowl for one of the succulents in the conservatory.
What I like is that there is a place you can get lunch, but it is not overtop just supplying 'fuel' for the garden visitor. Good quality and straight forward with seating under cover but with open sides. I think it was part of the covered area for shady plants. On the day of our visit which was hot and sunny, it was an excellent place to leave Mr S. whilst I went up and down the paths in the sales area. Unlike the website, there are tables along the carpark side facing a lovely field, where people can sit and have any snack they may have brought. It does say no picnics but this is 'no picnics' in the garden, which is completely understandable.