GardenJane Austen's garden is an idyllic spot to while away a summer afternoon. Visitors are welcome to picnic on the lawns and benches, take photographs and enjoy the garden wildlife amongst the flowers, herbs, trees and shrubs in a beautiful setting beside the old village green.
‘a high wooden fence and hornbeam hedge shut out the Winchester road, which skirted the whole length of the little domain. Trees were planted each side to form a shrubbery walk, carried round the enclosure, which gave sufficient space for ladies’ exercise. There was a pleasant irregular mixture of hedgerow, and gravel walk, and orchard, and long grass for mowing, arising from two or three little enclosures having been thrown together.’
A Memoir of Jane Austen, James Edward Austen-Leigh
In Jane Austen’s time the garden was bigger than it is today. It boasted lawns, flower beds, an orchard, a shrubbery walk and also a large vegetable patch which Jane’s mother tended.
Although no record of its layout exists, it is probable that this garden was of simple country cottage style with little formal design.
Today the garden shows an extensive range of plants known in Jane Austen’s time and includes wildflowers common to this area of Hampshire.
Visitors are welcome to picnic on the lawns and benches, take photographs and enjoy the garden wildlife amongst the flowers, herbs, trees and shrubs in a beautiful setting beside the old village green.
Celia Simpson, Head Gardener, has cared for this garden for over 20 years and welcomes help from volunteers to keep it looking beautiful all year round.
A brief guide to the garden
Anti-clockwise from the entrance courtyard:
The Herb Border runs from the Bakehouse to the Learning Centre, with an additional bed under the house window across the path. These herbs were used for medicinal and culinary purposes and also as insect repellents, nosegays, flower waters, strewing plants and tussie-mussies (small fragrant posies).
The Perennial Bed fills the corner from the Learning Centre to the hedge. Here, the soil is very rich and ideal for climbers, summer bulbs and other colourful plants.
Through the garden gate, (out-of-bounds – sorry!) are nursery beds, compost heaps, cold frames, sheds and a greenhouse. This is where young plants are raised and much of the preparation is carried out.
The Rose Beds hold 30 very old varieties of richly perfumed Gallica, Alba, Centifolia and Moss roses. Amongst them grow more perennials.
The Shrubbery is bordered by a magnificent beech hedge which was planted in the 1950s. In addition to the extensive variety of shrubs, many wildflowers grow here and the garden birds can often be seen taking advantage of the food, water & shelter.
The Boundary Border grows trees and shrubs alongside the garden wall. The oak tree, surrounded by seating, is a descendant of a tree believed to have been planted by Jane Austen.
The Bricked Border holds dye plants which were used to obtain dyes from roots, leaves or flowers.
The plants on and under the Front Wall of the house are a mix of climbing shrubs, seasonal bulbs and summer annuals framing the house doors.