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One Sunday with my parents, after a very lovely brunch at Wivenhoe House Hotel, we went over to see the Beth Chatto Gardens.


I’m both sad and astounded that I’ve lived in Essex nearly six years, and in Colchester just over three, and somehow haven’t ever been here before!  SAM_0802

Five acres of informal, beautifully tended and imagined, landscaped gardens and water gardens, and some incredible examples of plants and trees I’ve never even heard of abound.

Some spots would be perfect for reading, thinking or just letting the inspiration sink in…


and other spots make you feel like you’ve just crossed the bridge into fairyland.


I did my usual from-where-I-stand shot surrounded by blossom,


and snuck up on Mum & Dad discussing plants and fish…


before finding a patch of the biggest clover I’ve ever seen.


The weather was glorious,


This was my favourite shot of the day (and as Beth Chatto still lives on site, I really hope she uses this boat sometimes)


And I will most certainly be back. Highly recommended if you’re ever in the area!


Beth Chatto Gardens is in Elmstead Market, on the Essex/Suffolk border near Colchester, and is open March to October, daily. There’s also a nursery and tea room, where I had to be very restrained and not buy ALL THE PLANTS for my garden! (Their brownies looked amazing, too!)

If you do go, let me know what you think!