The Enduring Inspiration of Beth Chatto: A Pioneering Woman in Horticulture and a Guiding Star at Natchez Glen House

The Enduring Inspiration of Beth Chatto: A Pioneering Woman in Horticulture and a Guiding Star at Natchez Glen House

As I stroll through the serene pathways of Natchez Glen House, I can't help but feel a deep sense of gratitude for the pioneering gardeners who have paved the way for me and countless others. One such remarkable figure is the incomparable Beth Chatto, a true trailblazer in the world of horticulture. In this edition of The Artful Garden, I invite you to join me on a whimsical journey through the life and legacy of Beth Chatto, and how her inspiring work continues to shape the gardens at Natchez Glen House today.

 A Woman Ahead of Her Time

Beth Chatto's entry into the world of horticulture in the mid-20th century was nothing short of revolutionary. At a time when women's voices were often sidelined in favor of their male counterparts, Beth Chatto's passion for plants and her profound understanding of ecology propelled her to the forefront of the gardening world. Her determination and unwavering curiosity shattered barriers and demonstrated that women, too, had much to offer in the realm of horticulture.

The Essence of Ecological Gardening

Beth Chatto's pioneering approach to gardening focused on the idea of working in harmony with nature. This "right plant, right place" philosophy emphasized the importance of understanding each plant's ecological requirements and selecting species that were well-adapted to local conditions. By doing so, Beth Chatto created gardens that were not only beautiful, but also sustainable, resilient, and teeming with life.

The Enchanting Influence of Beth Chatto at Natchez Glen House

Every corner of Natchez Glen House is imbued with the spirit of Beth Chatto's gardening wisdom. From the careful selection of plants that thrive in our unique environment, to the enchanting interplay of color, texture, and form, her influence can be seen and felt throughout the gardens.

The whimsical woodland area, dappled with sunlight and home to shade-loving plants, echoes the essence of Beth Chatto's own woodland garden. And the gravel garden, showcasing an array of drought-tolerant beauties, stands as a testament to her conviction that even the most challenging conditions can yield breathtaking results.

Carrying the Torch

As I nurture the gardens of Natchez Glen House, I am constantly inspired by the pioneering spirit of Beth Chatto. Her unwavering belief in the power of plants and their innate ability to adapt to their environments serves as a guiding star in my own horticultural journey.

By sharing her story and wisdom through The Artful Garden and the thriving landscape of Natchez Glen House, I hope to honor her legacy and inspire a new generation of gardeners to embrace the wonders of nature, just as Beth Chatto did in her time.


The indelible mark Beth Chatto has left on the world of horticulture is a testament to her passion, intelligence, and perseverance. Her pioneering work as a woman in the field and her ecological approach to gardening continue to inspire and guide us here at Natchez Glen House. In honoring her legacy, we ensure that the artful, whimsical, and sustainable gardens she championed will flourish for generations to come.


As a passionate garden writer and plantswoman, I have always been enchanted by the beauty and allure of the Paeonia genus. These exquisite perennials, commonly known as peonies, have captivated gardeners for centuries with their elegant, showy blooms and delightful fragrance. Drawing inspiration from my own experiences, I invite you to join me on a journey to explore the enchanting world of peonies in the garden.

Section 1: The Charm of Peonies

The allure of peonies lies not only in their stunning appearance but also in their rich history and symbolism. Originating from Asia, Europe, and Western North America, peonies have been cultivated for over 2,000 years. They hold a special place in Chinese culture, where they are considered the "king of flowers" and symbolize wealth, honor, and nobility.

Section 2: Choosing the Right Peony

There are two main types of peonies: herbaceous and tree peonies. Herbaceous peonies, such as Paeonia lactiflora, die back to the ground each winter, while tree peonies, like Paeonia suffruticosa, maintain a woody structure year-round. When selecting a peony for your garden, consider factors such as bloom time, color, fragrance, and mature size.

Section 3: Planting and Care

Peonies require well-drained, fertile soil with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH. They thrive in full sun to partial shade, depending on the variety. Plant herbaceous peonies in the fall, with their eyes (buds) no more than two inches below the soil surface. Tree peonies can be planted in either spring or fall.

Peonies benefit from a layer of organic mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Although they are relatively low-maintenance, they do appreciate occasional feeding with a balanced fertilizer. Keep an eye out for common pests such as ants and thrips, and be prepared to address any fungal diseases, like botrytis, that may arise.

Section 4: Supporting the Blooms

One of the few challenges peony gardeners face is providing adequate support for their plants' heavy blooms. Employing plant supports, such as peony cages or stakes, will ensure that your peonies maintain their grace and elegance throughout the blooming season.

Section 5: Enjoying the Harvest

Peonies make excellent cut flowers, and their stunning blooms can be enjoyed both indoors and out. To extend the vase life of your cut peonies, harvest the buds when they are still firm but beginning to show color, and trim the stems at an angle before placing them in water.


The Paeonia genus offers a diverse range of captivating perennials that can enrich any garden with their elegance and charm. With proper care and attention, you too can cultivate a stunning display of these magnificent flowers. As you delve deeper into the world of peonies, you'll discover the joy and satisfaction that comes from growing and nurturing these enchanting blooms.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.