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.
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 Kitchen Garden
The kitchen garden is on Baker’s Hill, one of the areas of the garden used by Gilbert White in the 18th century for growing fruit and vegetables.
The kitchen garden has two main aims, recreating the look and feel of the productive areas of Gilbert White’s garden and supplying the Tea Parlour kitchen with fresh ingredients. The vegetables and soft fruit varieties grown are based on the ones recorded by Gilbert White in his ‘Garden Kalendar’. Where the original 18th century varieties are not available other heritage varieties are grown, mixing some of the more unusual plants with those that can be supplied in bulk for use in the kitchen.
Where possible heritage tools and equipment are used in the kitchen garden to make it feel as much as possible like the original. The signs around the garden include quotes from the ‘Garden Kalendar’ showing the dates when Gilbert White was sowing seeds or planting.
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.
- Best of 2016
It’s New Year’s eve! Here’s what we’re remembering about 2016!
January: We began the year with the first of this years 82 events, Twelfth Night. We welcomed local theatre group Foot in the Door, and enjoyed a wonderful night of food and merriment.
- Christmas Opening Times
Today is the shortest day which means the Christmas period is upon us!
But that doesn’t mean you can’t visit Gilbert White & The Oates Collections over the Christmas break!
Here are our Christmas Opening Times….
Wednesday 21st Dec: 10:30-4:30
Thursday 22nd Dec: 10:30-4:30
Friday 23rd Dec: 10:30-4:30
Christmas Eve: 10:30-3:00
Christmas Day till New Years
- Hercules Re-built: Gilbert White’s Statue
One of the more unusual features of the garden here at the Wakes is the ‘statue’ of Hercules. Situated at the southern end of the park adjacent to a strip of woodland known as the Piddle it was erected in 1999 as part of the Kim Wilkie Garden Restoration
- The Garden in December
Here is what is happening in the garden in December…
As Christmas draws near the garden clear up continues, and house decoration and mulled wine is upon us.
In the Dining Room shrubbery the one remaining Laurestinus
- The Garden in November
- Wild About Gardens
- The Garden in October
What’s happening in Gilbert’s White’s Garden in October?
As autumn as well and truly here now, there’s a different feel to the garden. It’s clearing up time, let’s put everything straight before the winter time, heavy dews and falling leaves to clear up time. A sad time in some ways,
- The Garden in September
The Garden in September…
There have been some glorious summer days with an autumnal tinge recently- fine hot sunshine but cool in the shadows. Beautiful weather for working in the garden! Which is just as well, as there is a great deal to do!
August & September are often difficult months
- Keep your herb garden happy!
Gilbert White & The Oates Collections invite you to a workshop to learn how to keep your herbs happy! As part of the Hampshire Food Festival, we will be showing you on the 27th the best way to start or improve your herb garden. What herbs to use with
- Unusual Plants Fair!