Gilbert White was an C18th cleric and amateur naturalist. He was also a keen gardener carefully recording sowing and harvesting times and the weather. His 30 acre garden has been carefully restored back to how it might have looked when Gilbert White was living in the “house.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/presocialhistory/socialhistory/social/social/gilbert_white/index.html The garden is maintained according to Gilbert White’s journals, allowing some areas to remain unweeded. The vegetable and soft fruit varieties are ones recorded by Gilbert White, and are used in the tea room. There are three signed walks taking visitors around the gardens.
By the door into the gardens is an Auricula theatre. These plants were very popular in the C18th and there was great competition to see who could grow the best. The Auricula theatre was designed to protect the plants from the weather and to display them.
Along the back of the house is a herbaceous border which runs to the Six Quarters Garden. The word quarter was used to mean ‘plot’ and as its name suggests, these are six rectangular flower beds planted with different flowering plants and shrubs. Behind them, a row of fruits trees masks the the herb garden.
The pond was created in the early C19th and has been planted with native wetland species including the three leaved bog bean with its pretty white flowers in spring. The pond is rapidly filling up with rushes and other vigorous water plants.
The stone well across the bridge is placed over a water tank which is part of the water collection system which collects rain water from the house roof and helps keep the pond topped up.
The kitchen garden is a series of small flower beds cut out of the grass and sheltered by hedges. Gilbert White had several kitchen gardens like this scattered around his estate. The beds are planted out as described by Gilbert White in his journals. He also grew melons and cucumbers in hot beds made of piles of manure covered with top soil and protected by a wood and glass frame.
The cutting beds provided flowers for the house and like the kitchen garden are grown in plots cut out of the grass.
The rest of the estate is grassland, hedges and woodland. It would have provided fodder for the horse as well as wood and kindling for the fires.
The gardens are included in the entry price to the house and are open mid February to December, Tuesday-Sunday from 10.30am-4.30pm (5pm from March – October). January to Mid February, they are only open Friday-Sunday.
The garden is accessible on well-kept grass and paths specially laid with very shallow gravel. There are several wheelchair adapted picnic benches throughout the grounds. The parkland beyond the garden is sloping and laid to rough grass
There is a car park coming into the village from the south east. The post code is GU34 3JH and the grid reference is SU 741337.
There are more pictures “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/gardens/england/south/selbourne/index.html