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.
- 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
- 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
- Friday’s Solar Eclipse. Cloud… What Cloud?
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
- 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
- Becoming a Wakes Weeder?
Do you have a few hours to spare to help maintain Gilbert White’s 30 acres of beautiful 18th Century landscape garden?
Local garden enthusiasts are being encouraged to meet with the garden team at Gilbert White & The Oates Collections to find out more about Gilbert White’s very special garden.
- Garden Newsletter: February
Welcome to a brand new year in Gilbert White’s Garden! Things are starting to grow already! It’s been quite a mild winter so far, apart from a few cold spells, and the bulbs are pushing through. Soil conditions are a little wet, but reasonably workable-weeding can, and has been
- Become an Antarctic Adventurer this Half Term at Gilbert White & The Oates Collections
Little explorers will be able to follow in the footsteps of the heroic Lawrence Oates this February half term. Gilbert White & The Oates Collections will be celebrating all things Antarctic from the 14th till the 22nd of
- Snowdrop Weekend
Despite frosty mornings, the lengthening days reassure us that we can look forward to the arrival of spring. On gloomy winter days the sight of snowdrops pushing through frozen ground always lifts the spirits. At Gilbert White & The Oates Collections in Selborne, we are celebrating the
- Garden Newsletter: December
The end of another year! Thank you all so much for your continued support! There’s still a lot of work to be done in the garden, and I know many of you are helping either decorate the house or during the Mulled Wine Weekend- yes, note weekend, it’s now,
We would like to send our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of our valued volunteer Carole Woods who died recently on 6th December 2014. Carole ran our quilting group for many years and, with her husband Laurie, was always an inspiring and enthusiastic supporter of the Museum