Garden Museum Journal no.40 | Beth Chatto Archive
Discover the remarkable life and groundbreaking work of Beth Chatto VMH, OBE, a renowned expert plantsperson, artist with plants, and prolific horticultural writer. Her visionary approach to ecological and naturalistic planting, encompassing a diverse range of plants that some might consider as “weeds,” has undoubtedly revolutionized contemporary gardening practices.
Throughout her lifetime, Beth meticulously preserved an extensive collection of letters, notes, notebooks, photographs, and newspaper cuttings, capturing her profound knowledge and experiences. Recognizing the importance of sharing her wealth of information with the gardening community, she graciously entrusted her archives to the Garden Museum on long-term loan in 2015. Thanks to the invaluable support from ‘Archives Revealed’ funding provided by The National Archives, The Pilgrim Trust, and The Wolfson Foundation, we have dedicated the past two years to meticulously exploring the vast trove of over 6,000 documents, photographs, and items. Our Project Archivist, Jane Harrison, delves into the archive’s depths, unveiling a multitude of captivating stories waiting to be told.
In this edition of the Garden Museum Journal, Jane unveils her extensive research findings from her thorough exploration of Beth Chatto’s archive. Prepare to be enthralled by the remarkable discoveries unearthed from a life well-lived and a garden expertly cultivated.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Beth Chatto’s family, The Beth Chatto Education Trust, and The Beth Chatto Gardens for their unwavering support. Their trust in the Garden Museum to preserve and showcase this invaluable part of garden history is deeply appreciated.