I set off with Beth Chatto’s ‘Garden Notebook’ placed within my handbag because I dared to hope that I might sight a glimpse of her and have the courage to ask her to autograph a page of my book.
We provided the only car in the car park which was flanked by huge Cypressa’ and the most magnificant Eucalyptus, a giant swaying up in amongst the grey skies of Colchester. Snow was still on the ground and we slipped and slithered across the gravel pathway towards the entrance. After discovering that most of the garden was closed due to snow we made our way towards the welcoming sign of the tea rooms. The cakes and coffee on offer were all scrumptious and went some way towards healing our disappointment.
Simon said: “Let’s see if we can get into the gardens”.. so off we went in search of Dave, the Head Gardener, after the young girl behind the counter steered us in his direction. We found him and with some overly stated expressions of disappointment and rumbles about having travelled some considerable distance to get there.. Dave very kindly let us into the garden under strict instructions to stick to the paths. We were happily compliant and entered excitedly under these terms. Our heartfelt thanks go to Dave for allowing us to take in the beautiful garden and despite the snow we spent a joyful few hours in wonderment and delight at all our discoveries there within.
Not only did Dave provide us with access to the garden but he also went to ask Beth if she would sign my copy of the ‘Garden Notebook’. I was completely delighted that Beth would be so kind as to sign my book when I’m absolutely sure she would have better and other things to do with her time. Dave took my book away with him and strided out towards Beth’s house which is literally next door to the garden centre and tea room. I waited with the biggest smile on my face and sure enough Dave came back with signed book in hand.
I will now and always treasure this book!
I loved exploring the Beth Chatto garden and can’t wait for a repeat visit in the spring. Enjoy!