Beth Chatto, OBE (born 27 June 1923), is a British plantswoman, garden designer and author best known for creating the Beth Chatto Gardens near Elmstead Market, in the English county of Essex. She is also known for writing several books on gardening for specific conditions. She has lectured throughout the UK, United States, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and Germany. Beth Chatto's gardening and writing use the principle of the right plant for the right place, developed from her husband Andrew Chatto's lifelong research into the origin of garden plants.
Construction of the Beth Chatto Gardens began in 1960 as a garden attached to the Chatto family home on land that had previously belonged to the Chatto family fruit farm. It had not been farmed as the soil was considered too dry in places, too wet in others and the whole area had been allowed to grow wild with blackthorn, willow and brambles. The only plants that survive from the earliest days are the ancient boundary oaks surrounding the Garden. The Beth Chatto Gardens comprise a varied range of planting sites totalling five acres, including dry, sun baked gravel, water and marginal planting, woodland, shady, heavy clay and alpine planting, and now include the Gravel Garden, Woodland Garden, Water Garden, Long Shady Walk, Reservoir Garden and Scree Garden. It was the development of these sites that prompted Beth Chatto to write books on gardening with what could be considered as "problem areas" using plants that nature has developed to survive in differing conditions.
Today Beth Chatto continues to work within the Beth Chatto Gardens, write for international and national press and appear in international media