The Garden

Few realise as they travel on the busy B3006 through the pretty village of Selborne, that behind the imposing frontage of Gilbert White’s House, ‘The Wakes’, lies beauty, tranquillity and history in 30 acres of ancient parkland and carefully restored gardens.


Visitors to this secret Hampshire garden marvel at the quirky features, glorious vistas and creative planting which are delightful whatever the season or weather.

Gilbert White was an experimental, keen and enthusiastic gardener and elements he designed include the wine-pipe seat, the cut-out statue of Hercules and two hahas plus the herb garden, kitchen garden and  ‘six quarters’. 18th century planting ensures that the garden has much to offer the true plantsman but it can be equally enjoyed for its tranquility, simple charm and beauty.

Head Gardener David Standing began work here in 1979 and imediately embarked on an ambitious project to uncover the original layout of the garden and recreate it. As no plan existed, David studied White’s journals, correspondence, household account books and a diary called ‘The Garden Kalendar’ in order to work out the garden design that White created, which had all but disappeared in the decades since his death.

A dedicated group of garden volunteers known affectionately as The Wakes Weeders, help David and his small team with all aspects of garden maintenance (new recruits always welcome!)

The Kitchen Garden

The kitchen garden is on Baker’s Hill, one of the areas of the garden used by Gilbert White in the 18th century for growing fruit and vegetables.

The kitchen garden has two main aims, recreating the look and feel of the productive areas of Gilbert White’s garden and supplying the Tea Parlour kitchen with fresh ingredients. The vegetables and soft fruit varieties grown are based on the ones recorded by Gilbert White in his ‘Garden Kalendar’. Where the original 18th century varieties are not available other heritage varieties are grown, mixing some of the more unusual plants with those that can be supplied in bulk for use in the kitchen.

Where possible heritage tools and equipment are used in the kitchen garden to make it feel as much as possible like the original. The signs around the garden include quotes from the ‘Garden Kalendar’ showing the dates when Gilbert White was sowing seeds or planting.



The Garden Blog

Now, for the first time, we are publishing extracts of the Wakes Weeders’ Newsletters in our monthly gardening blog. For the full Weeders’ Newsletter, you will have come and help out in the garden!

There is a wealth of knowledge hidden in the Wakes Weeders’ monthly newsletters, written by Head Gardener, David Standing. This newsletter archive (of over 30 years) plots David’s fantastic journey to re-discover Gilbert White’s garden. Extracts of this detailed archive may well be published here in the future, but for now we hope you enjoy these current extracts.

  • Snowdrop Facts

    It’s our annual Snowdrop Weekend this weekend (25th-26th February) so here’s some snowdrop facts!

    snowdrop facts

    1. There are 19 types of snowdrop! 

    Though you are likely to find only three varieties in your own garden.

    2.They have

    Read more

  • The Garden in February

    As we enter another year of gardening we enter a time of change. The physical changes that have been so carefully planned over the last few years are finally beginning to appear.

    In the six quarters the beds have a fair covering of leaves, many from the tulip tree: some

    Read more

  • Best of 2016

    It’s New Year’s eve! Here’s what we’re remembering about 2016!

    January: We began the year with the first of this years 82 events, Twelfth Night. We welcomed local theatre group Foot in the Door, and enjoyed a wonderful night of food and merriment.

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    Read more

  • Christmas Opening Times

    Today is the shortest day which means the Christmas period is upon us!

    But that doesn’t mean you can’t visit Gilbert White & The Oates Collections over the Christmas break!

    Here are our Christmas Opening Times….

    Wednesday 21st Dec: 10:30-4:30

    Thursday 22nd Dec: 10:30-4:30

    Friday 23rd Dec: 10:30-4:30

    Christmas Eve: 10:30-3:00

    Christmas Day till New Years

    Read more

  • Hercules Re-built: Gilbert White’s Statue

    One of the more unusual features of the garden here at the Wakes is the ‘statue’ of Hercules. Situated at the southern end of the park adjacent to a strip of woodland known as the Piddle it was erected in 1999 as part of the Kim Wilkie Garden Restoration

    Read more

  • The Garden in December

    Here is what is happening in the garden in December…

    As Christmas draws near the garden clear up continues, and house decoration and mulled wine is upon us.

    garden in december


    In the Dining Room shrubbery the one remaining Laurestinus

    Read more

  • The Garden in November

    The autumn clear up continues in the garden this November!

    The Dining room shrubbery is now in a state of limbo as we await the new lottery project to take place. It is planned to remove the yew hedge, or at least part of it, so that a view

    Read more

  • Wild About Gardens

    This year the Wild About Gardens Week, supported by The Wildlife Trusts, The Royal Horticultural Society and the Bat Conservation Trust, runs from 24th to 30th October 2016. During this week, those organisations are seeking to promote a better understanding of bats and what we can do

    Read more

  • The Garden in October

    What’s happening in Gilbert’s White’s Garden in October?

    As autumn as well and truly here now, there’s a different feel to the garden. It’s clearing up time, let’s put everything straight before the winter time, heavy dews and falling leaves to clear up time. A sad time in some ways,

    Read more

  • The Garden in September

    The Garden in September…

    There have been some glorious summer days with an autumnal tinge recently- fine hot sunshine but cool in the shadows. Beautiful weather for working in the garden! Which is just as well, as there is a great deal to do!

    August & September are often difficult months

    Read more

Links to other 18th century gardens

Hampshire Gardens Trust and their Events

Painshill Park

Hinton Ampner Gardens