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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.

A seasonal window on the garden:

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 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.

  • Wildlife on the wheat

    Each year we grow long straw wheat once used for thatching… Each year, without fail, our friend Mr Badger (and a good number of birds) come to feed on the wheat. We used to think there was an entire badger family visiting. However, as this video shows, there is

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  • Garden Newsletter: July

    So many thanks to all of you who helped in the garden and at the Plant Fair! Your help has made a tremendous difference and enabled us to have an attractive garden and a successful Plant Fair. The weather has now turned hot and weeding, annual planting followed by

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  • Garden Newsletter: June

    Summer has at last come- or has it? It’s still rather cold, but at least it’s been quite sunny. As the day length increases so the plants have more time to grow, and grow they are certainly doing!! It’s all hands on deck once again for the garden and

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  • Garden Newsletter: May

    You’ll be expecting me to say this, but yes, growth has taken off as it does every May and the garden is heading for a maintenance crisis! Weeds growing apace everywhere and not enough gardeners to deal with them- the garden team now desperately need your help! You’ve only

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  • Report of Botanical Survey & Compartment Species List’s

    of The Wakes. Selborne

    wakes1
    Butterfly Orchid in the Wakes Park

    S. M. Povey
    &
    A. M.. James

    July 2013

    Report of Botanical Survey of The Wakes. Selborne & Species List. 2013

    The Survey
    This Botanical Survey was carried out

    Read more

  • Why Walk to Oxford Part 3

    WALKING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF GILBERT WHITE 27TH APRIL – 5TH MAY

    Gilbert was a great man, an author, scientist and a naturalist and this walk is to make more people know and understand him. He ‘observed narrowly’ on his travels and noted down all that he saw. Nowadays naturalists

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  • Garden Newsletter: April

    Well it’s not exactly April, and the weather is rather cold but it is time for the Weeders Newsletter for the month, because as I explained in the last newsletter, I have to bring the Sunday meeting forward to avoid clashes with Easter and family commitments.

    March/April volunteering dates are

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  • Garden Newsletter: March

    It seems like spring might be here?  Sunny periods, bulbs sprouting, the garden’s coming to life! We all so want it to happen, but we must be cautious- everything could change again- back to winter!  So with cautious optimism I greet the coming growing season, and you’ll all realise

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  • Friday’s Solar Eclipse. Cloud… What Cloud?

    solareclipse

     

     

     

     

    Undaunted by cloud cover the garden team, inspired by Gilbert White’s interest in celestial phenomena, attempted to use a colander to see the solar eclipse this Friday. Unfortunately the weather was somewhat against us and we had to admit

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  • Why walk to Oxford, part 2

    Gilbert the Gardener: It is quite a long way, but how to get Gilbert White better known? He was a great man, a member of the last generation when it was still thought possible to know everything, and he was interested in so much. He started off as a

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Links to other 18th century gardens

Hampshire Gardens Trust and their Events

Painshill Park

Hinton Ampner Gardens