Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Wakehurst - a garden for all seasons

Wakehurst Place in West Sussex, is affiliated to and managed by Kew Gardens and is also houses the Millenium Seed Bank. And, like its bigger sister in London, is another good garden for all seasons. It has a remarkable collection of trees, spread over more than 450 acres, so is well-known for its autumn colour, but also has a fine winter garden, which bursts into colour in November and gives it year-round interest.

The Tudor mansion (above) was built in 1590 for Sir Edward Culpeper, and it provides a good backdrop to the adjacent walled garden, which is stocked with colourful perennials. There is also a fine collection of hardy plants, arranged georgraphically, and Wakehurst is home to four National plant collections - birches, hypericums, nothofagus and skimmias. But the real reason to visit Wakehurst is its amazing collection of trees, and to enjoy walking through the hills and valleys that house them.


A lot of autumn colour comes from the fine collection of acers, which are clustered round the Mansion pond near the main house, and this is just a prelude to the fine water garden - well-known for its magnificent Japanese iris collection and quite spectacular in season!


One of the most attractive features of the gardens at Wakehurst is the feeling of space - you can walk for miles without running into crowds, and because of its site, on the High Weald of Sussex, there are many different routes through the gardens and adjoining valleys. It is easy to spend an entire day here!


Wakehurst is home to the Millenium Seed Bank - a project committed to the storing of seeds for future generations - there are already more than 24,000 seeds here - some 10% of the world's plants and the aim is to have 25% stored by 2020. The seeds are frozen and then placed in underground vaults. There is a permanent exhibition in the futuristic Seedbank building which explains how the project works and you catch glimpses of white-coated scientists at work, which all adds to project's mystique.


You can buy an annual membership at Wakehurst Place, which also covers you for Kew - well worth doing if you plan to visit often, particularly as both gardens have much on offer in the winter months!

20 comments:

  1. Very very nice post, I did'nt know this beautiful place before, thanks :)

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  2. Another favourite of mine which we visit probably a couple of times a year. You are so right about it being a garden for all seasons. I particularly like the walled garden but it is all lovely. A favourite time of year is bluebell time!

    It is worth noting that National Trust members can get in free too.

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  3. I like the look of the building among the autumn trees - another place I'd love to visit!

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  4. So much beauty! The brilliant fall colors, the hydrangeas, and the butterflies. Magnificent.

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  5. All the pictures are lovely. I like the idea of the Millennium Seed Bank.

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  6. It looks like a absolutely stunning place to go and visit.

    Jen

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  7. i posted about buddleia yesterday. but just look at your perfect photo complete with butterfly! i enjoy your blog so much and i hope you do make it to charlotte soon. did you see my list of gardens in and around the city? there are some nice places to visit.

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  8. Oh Lottie, I love that photo of the hydrangeas with the Pampas Grass. Gorgeous. What an interesting butterfly.

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  9. What a great plave to be in Autumn thanks for the re visit Charlotte

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  10. What a great place with a great garden, what a wonderful color of those hydrangeas!!
    Muchos cariños
    Maria Cecilia

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  11. Hi Tiggerlot~~ Gorgeous trees. The colors are just fabulous and the Kniphofia look good enough to eat! Storing seed is a great idea.

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  12. Another beautiful garden! I particularly enjoy gardens that also look great in the winter.

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  13. What beautiful photos... the soft Autumn colors of the first with the riot of color on the butterfly and the last photo with the purples and fluffy grasses... so lush and lovely all.

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  14. I'll bet you had fun there. Beautiful gardens.

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  15. What a positively romantic garden. How it must be to imagine yourself lords and ladies strolling the excellent grounds. sigh.
    I really enjoyed seeing this exquisite garden and learning about the seed bank. I had no idea it was such a serious production.

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  16. gorgeous pictures!! the colors are fantastic. keep posting more.

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  17. Beautiful pictures of autumn, especialy love the first one with the old house. Very informative post.

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  18. Your enticing photos makes me think I should be keeping a list of all the place I wish to visit, just in case I ever get to England.

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