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.

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.

"20 October 1764 Fine soft weather intermixed with some gentle showers. This delicate weather makes most curious Grapes. The farmers put their wheat into the ground in fine order."

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: 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

    Read more

  • 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

    Read more

  • Unusual Plants Fair Draws Gardening Crowds and Plant Experts

    Plant lovers from far and wide enjoyed hunting for unique additions to their garden this weekend at Gilbert White’s in Selborne, at their Unusual Plants Fair. Despite the unreliable weather forecast, visitors turned out in force to support this annual fundraising event, and browse amongst specialist growers from across

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  • Garden Newsletter: June

    I know it’s not quite June yet, but as you may recall, the Sunday meeting is a week earlier than usual this month, and as the newsletter always just precedes this meeting, well, here it is! The last month has been a very busy one, and many thanks to

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  • Hotbed

    Gilbert White is known to have used Hotbeds to grow Melons and Cucumbers and to extend the growing season of various other plants. We have just constructed our second Hotbed this season. Take a look at our Hotbed Construction Movie!

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  • Garden Newsletter: May

    The weed explosion has started- you’ve only got to look at your own gardens to realise this. Go away for a week and your garden becomes unrecognisable! Certainly the Wakes garden has been transformed, up to now in a pretty good way, but increasingly in a bad way because

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  • Garden Newsletter: April

    We’ve had rain, we’ve had sunshine, and we’ve had some warmth…. Guess what, everything’s growing like crazy! Yes, it’s crunch time in the garden; we really do need your help! There have been good attendances at last months Weeders meetings, which has had a big impact on the state

    Read more

Links to other 18th century gardens

Hampshire Gardens Trust and their Events

Painshill Park

Hinton Ampner Gardens