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The Kings Arms, Elmstead Market
The original site was wasteland consisting of widely contrasting problem areas. There was poor gravel soil, 20 feet deep, dry shade beneath trees, while a sour boggy hollow lay between. By selecting plants adapted by nature to these situations, three contrasting gardens have evolved over the past 50 years. The now famous Gravel Garden, cleverly planted to resemble a dried up river bed, is filled with drought-resisting plants. Shady areas make homes for woodland plants, while water gardens surround four large pools, which lie in the spring-fed hollow. The impact of the lush green growth there is almost overpowering. Huge upturned parasols of Gunnera chilensis tower above a hundred shades of green, creating a scene of harmony and tranquility.
Five acres of beautifully landscaped gardens contain a vast variety of plants providing year-round interest.
Beth Chatto Gardens began in 1960 from overgrown wasteland with poor gravel soil and boggy hollows. It has now been transformed into an informal garden harmonising with the surrounding countryside. The gardens are an inspiration to anyone who visits.