THESE images from our archives show gardening legend Beth Chatto whose north Essex nursery continues to be a favourite destination for horticulture fans of all ages.

Mrs Chatto began work on her gardens in Elmstead Market in 1960 when it was just overgrown wasteland and these photographs show how it became one of the country’s award-winning gardens.

This summer, she was posthumously named an iconic horticultural hero at the prestigious RHS Hamptom Court Palace Garden Festival following her death in May last year aged 94.

The overgrown wasteland of brambles which was once her garden went on to win ten gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show in the space of just 11 years.

She and her fruit farmer husband, Andrew who met in the early 1940s , were passionate about plants and it was this which brought them together.

They were married in 1943 and moved to Braiswick in Colchester, going on to have two daughters.

Moving to Elmstead Market in the early 1960s at first there was no intention of it becoming a business, just developing a garden for themselves, but in 1967, the nursery was opened.

Now, what was once a car park is a world-renowned gravel garden, and the quaint tearoom is a hit with families along with its popular nursery.

Mrs Chatto’s granddaughter Julia Boulton now manages the gardens.

But after establishing it, the garden received recognition the couple could hardly have imagined at first.

In 1995, Beth Chatto was selected to the International Professional and Business Women’s Hall of Fame for outstanding achievements in introducing plant ecology to garden design.

Three years later she was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Garden Writer’s Guild, and in 2002 received an OBE.

In 2015, the Beth Chatto Education Trust Charity was launched, as Mrs Chatto was passionate about working with the natural world rather than against it.

She set up the Trust to carry forward her passion for plants to all age groups.

Plenty of other awards and accolades followed. Even after her death in May last year.

Many generations continue to enjoy her gardens and the popular tea rooms and her work and ethos, a place for every plant, has been continued by her family.

She handed over the running of the nursery to garden and nursery director Dave Ward, who started working with her in the early 1980s and concentrated on the garden and her Chelsea Flower Show entries.

She wrote a number of books on the subject, the first called the Dry Garden was issued in 1978, and also appeared on numerous television programmes.