The Beth Chatto Symposium, organised to celebrate Beth’s 95th year, and the 40th anniversary of the publication of Beth’s first book The Dry Garden included a garden party which, as if channelling Beth herself (who passed away in May this year) was wonderfully generous, warm and inclusive.
It has been a crazily hot and dry year in England, and I’d been warned (at the symposium by some of the staff) that the gravel garden was looking far from its best. I knew to be skeptical about the warning. When I first visited with Christopher Lloyd in the middle of the very dry summer of 1994, Beth was herself equally apologetic. The garden was, of course, totally amazing. Not having seen it at any other time for comparison, I honestly could not see any signs of the stress that was everywhere evident to Beth.
On this latest visit, I could tell that the garden was a bit thinner than it has been on other visits, at other times of year. But it was still looking sensational.