beth chatto: a life with plants
When I started work on this book, Beth, characteristically, gave me a list of friends she wanted me to contact. Of those I was able to speak to, I am especially grateful to the following, who so generously shared their memories of Beth with me and in many cases hospitality as well: Janet Allen, Stephen Anderton, Paul Baines, Adrian Bloom, Ronald Blythe, Helen Dillon, Professor Germaine Greer, Jerry Harpur, Professor James Hitchmough, Doug Hoerr, Peter Janke, Carol Klein, Piet Oudolf, Dan Pearson, Chrissy South, Yuko Tanabe, Bryan Thomas, Romke and Adriana van de Kaa, Christine Walkden, Susanne Weber, David Wheeler, Matthew Wilson, and Steven Wooster. Thanks also go in particular to Fergus Garrett for his guidance and wisdom, and his supporting staff at Great Dixter, Alan Titchmarsh for the loan of precious taped interviews and correspondence with Beth, and the late Erica Hunningher for her generosity in giving me her complete Beth Chatto archive. I am incredibly indebted to Christopher Woodward, director of the Garden Museum, who introduced me to Beth in the first place.
From our initial meeting, the enthusiasm for the book from Jo Christian and her publishing team at Pimpernel Press has been amazing. It has been a delight to work with them all. I am also extremely grateful to Tony Lord for his assistance with indexing. In addition, I could not have done without the practical help of Alice Lyzcia, Caroline Richardson and Hester Vickery Styles. As ever, my husband, Paddy Barwise, went beyond the call of marital duty, giving his editing skills during a ‘busman’s break’ from writing his own book. And a special thank you to those members of the North Carolina
Botanical Society who left no stone unturned in helping me piece together Beth’s US canoeing trip.
Over the years, I have been extremely fortunate to have had the support of the staff, past and present, at the Beth Chatto Gardens. It is impossible to name them all but I am particularly grateful to Emily Allard, Tricia Brett, Åsa Gregers-Warg, Keith and Gerard Page, and David Ward. A special thank you to the staff in the Tea Room – my ‘office’ – who kept me going with endless cups of coffee and delicious ‘Molly cake’!
Beth’s family, in particular her daughter Mary and granddaughter Julia, have been enormously supportive throughout this project, always generous with encouragement, photographs and memories. I am grateful for their permission to quote from Beth’s personal letters and diaries.
Finally, the greatest debt of thanks goes to Beth herself, for putting her trust in me to write her amazing story.
PHOTOGRAPH ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Unless otherwise noted below, images come from the Beth Chatto Estate and the photographic library of the Beth Chatto Gardens. Every effort has been made to identify individual photographers but please notify the publishers of any omissions. Julia Boulton, p. 29; Helen Dillon, pp. 236, 260; the Garden Museum, p. 10; the Great Dixter Trust, pp. 125, 240; Douglas Hoerr, p. 206; Mary Marshall, pp, 38, 40, 41, 54, 55; Marion Nickig, p. 117; Piet Oudolf, p. 251, top and bottom; David Ward, p. 247; Rachel Warne, p. 2; Susanne Weber, p. 151; Ray Williams/Condé Nast Publications, p. 67.