This is such a great read, whether you've been to Beth Chatto's wonderful garden and are already a big fan, or even if you've never heard of her before today.
Beth Chatto started a nursery and garden with her husband in 1960, on land in Essex he used to farm for fruit. It has become one of the most famous spots in England due to her wonderful books, which preach a message of planting according to the situation you have, not according to what you wish was there. This forethinking message might seem familiar to us today, but in her own time it was revolutionary and influential - if you have a damp garden, or a dry garden (she had bits of both) accept it and work with what you have instead of against it.
This is not to say that her style of gardening is somehow lacking the colour and texture of more extrovert planters. She is an expert plantswoman and walking round her garden you stop every ten metres to take a photo or wonder at a plant.
This book is a whole year's worth of diary, detailing her love for her grandchildren, her delight in her potting compost mixer, and her interesting visitors, ranging from the Japanese work experience boy to nosy parkers who don't believe she actually is Beth Chatto. And that's before you get started on any of the writing about plants, which is just delightful.
I mostly read this book on the tube and it was completely involving, I often totally forgot where I was, I was so lost in Essex and her brilliantly-put insights and thoughts on gardening. 100% enjoyable, and a great gift for any gardener.
on 17 May 2016
I'm so glad I purchased this gem of a book! I have to say this is not just one of the best books I've read so far this year but possibly one of the best I've ever read! I help my friend (who is a self-employed gardener) with potting his bedding plants during the Spring for his car boot sales in May and June and so have just recently begun to show an interest in gardening and plants. I bought this book on an impulse and I'm so glad I did, I just couldn't put it down. I loved reading about a year in the life of Beth working at her garden and nursery near Colchester. It's also filled with some beautiful drawings which just adds to the enjoyment of it. Thank you Beth very much I highly enjoyed this and didn't want it to end!