True grit: the growing appeal of a year-round gravel garden

Gravel gardening is not for everybody, but it’s great if you’re into plants, experimentation – and less work overall

Form, function, unexpected pops of colour and scent at Beth Chatto‘s inspiring dry garden in Essex

“It was like meeting Madonna,” garden designer Des Doyle said of meeting garden guru Beth Chatto years ago in her famous Essex garden.

Doyle is now one of Ireland’s foremost gravel gardeners, but meeting one of England’s foremost plants people was a crossroads in his life, he said.

“She was great, really interesting. It was sort of like, when you find the clothes designer or the shop that suits you, and you keep going back. ...