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!)
250 Years ago…
Latest extract from Gilbert White’s ‘The Garden Kalendar’ 250 years ago to the day.
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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.
- Garden NetWhen working in our heritage garden we always aspire to use 18th century methods. However, up until now we have occasionally slipped and used modern plastic netting to prevent bird damage in the Kitchen Garden. But no longer…
- Garden Newsletter: November
We’ve had, so far, a glorious autumn- but the rains are now starting to come and we need to hurry on to get the garden up together before the more difficult winter weather sets in. We have had good attendances during the week but rather less at weekends: so
- Sundial Story
Gilbert White’s Sundial stands, iconically in the centre of the stone Haha at his house, the Wakes. It was purchased, second hand, from Sarson house, Amport, near Andover, in 1761, for £2 and 7shillings. (£2.35p) the brass dial plate cost an additional 16s 6d (82½p). The post was said
- Replanting Gilbert’s Fruit Wall
We recently celebrated the planting of an 18th century nectarine variety ‘Royal George’ as part of our plans to restore Gilbert’s fruit wall to its former glory. Only a part of the Gilbert’s original fruit wall now exists, in the future we would like to rebuild the rest of
- Historic Apples
The grounds of Gilbert White’s House contain many older varieties of apple which you are unlikely to find in the shops. Now is the time to come and explore!
A full trail is available at reception, and we have apples
- Garden Newsletter: October
The good weather continues meaning it’s excellent gardening time! At least it’s good for hedging, hoeing and pruning not so good for digging as the ground is very hard down to a spit or so. We’ve had a long spell of sunny weather with temperatures just above 20ºC with
- Gilbert’s Garden Gallery
This season the beautiful landscape of Gilbert White’s has been showcasing some unique exhibits; pieces of art inspired by countryside of the South Downs. Designed by Garden & Art Sculpture based in Chichester, these pieces of art have been plotted around garden and are available to purchase from the
- Garden Newsletter: September
Hedging, cutting down, clearing & weeding time! I always start a newsletter with some reference to the time of year, and as autumn (sadly?) approaches I thought I’d have a quick look at garden calendars. We are often asked ‘what shall I do when?’ and so when I looked
- Garden Newsletter: August
Don’t panic! No it’s not the end of July yet, this newsletter is early because I am on holiday next week but back for the normal first Sunday of the month, so, in keeping with tradition I’m getting this newsletter out before that Sunday meeting!
This hot weather has been
- Garden Newsletter: July
We continue to battle large numbers of weeds! Long days, heat and some moisture mean a struggle to keep things together, as usual at this time of the year. So I need you all to come and help, as you have been over the past few months. Thank you