Winter in the garden at Hinton Ampner

Dust off those boots and enjoy a winter walk in our grounds. Stroll through the gardens taking in the picturesque views and warm up in the cafe afterwards.

The garden is well known for its formal layout of crisp hedges and topiary. In summer, the flowers take centre stage but as these fade away and winter takes hold the sculpted yew and box take on a whole new look as the low winter sun creates bold shadows.

The frost makes everything beautiful even our hedges
Frost-bitten hedges at Hinton Ampner, Hampshire

Bright stems of ruby red Cornus and brilliant white Rubus contrast dramatically. Many of the winter flowering shrubs have a very heavy scent. Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill'  and  Chimonathus pracox fill the Febuary air with fragrance whilst the very unassuming Christmas box, ‘ sarcococca confusa’ may flower from December depending on the weather.

The garden in winter at Hinton Ampner, Hampshire
 The garden in winter at Hinton Ampner, Hampshire

Many of the perenials die back but if left unpruned have a ghostly skeleton and look rather dramatic when covered with frost. The Maiden garss Miscanthus ‘Malepartus’ rises gracefully to between six and seven feet high with its fluffy flowers gradually turning silver.  They take on a feathery texture during the winter looking almost as if they are dancing in the wind.

A stunning close up of frosty seed heads in the walled garden at Hinton Ampner
 Close up of frosty seed heads in the walled garden at Hinton Ampner, Hampshire

Spring is never far away and a few warmer days in January will see the start of a crescendo of tiny bulbs emerging. Iris reticulata ‘Purple Gem’ is often the first followed by the Crocus cream beauty standing out against the cold soil.  With winter turning into spring, our gardens are slowly waking from sleep with brilliant hues of green and purple, making a perfect setting for a winter visit.

Having explored the gardens, tuck into our winter warming dishes in the café. Many of our dishes are made from produce from our walled garden, even during winter time.  We also have an exhibition by the Hampshire Artists Co-operative so make sure you check out the beautifully hand- sculpted ceramics and jewellery as well as a range of locally - inspired paintings.