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!)


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.

  • Another Year in Gilbert White’s Garden

    Welcome to another year in Gilbert White’s Garden! Summed up at the moment by one word: Wet!

    We have very soggy soil and lawns. Plenty of mud!! However, gardening must go on, even in less than ideal conditions.

    The Dining room shrubbery has been tidied (many thanks to

    Read more

  • Happy New Year! Museum Events in 2016

    2015 was one of Gilbert White & The Oates Collections best ever years! However we at Gilbert White’s are now looking forward to a jammed packed year in 2016! We thought we’d share with our Museum Events 2016.

    January is already off to a flying start with our

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  • Garden Newsletter: December

    After the warmest November since records began, things are still growing in the garden! Arnold has just mown the fields on Bakers Hill, we do hope this is the last time this year! Many thanks to all of you who have worked so hard in the garden during this

    Read more

  • Garden Newsletter: November

    It’s a beautiful Autumn with some wonderful leaf colours on the trees- The Wakes is looking wonderful with its golden backdrop of the Hanger- so please come along and enjoy the scene- and of course HELP in the garden! There are still apples and medlars to pick, and a

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  • Garden Newsletter – October

    Newsletter No 326 October 2015

    The autumn is well and truly with us- and what beautiful weather it has been- and hopefully will continue to be! The ideal opportunity to come and help in the wakes garden! We have some good fruit crops that need picking, as well as a

    Read more

  • Garden Newsletter: September


    The garden is starting to look a little tired- perhaps the gardeners are too! The bright fresh colours are giving way to autumnal tints and seed heads. Heavy rain as brought those tall perennials that ‘didn’t need staking’ to the ground. Dead heading, cutting down and tidying are the

    Read more

  • Garden Newsletter: August


    Summer is in full swing: the weather forecast girl apologies for low summer temperatures, 22ºC ! Quite warm enough for me, working in the garden thank you! And refreshing when it rains, although it never does properly. So there’s a lot of watering to do, as well as weeding,

    Read more

  • 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

    Read more

Links to other 18th century gardens

Hampshire Gardens Trust and their Events

Painshill Park

Hinton Ampner Gardens