Winter in the garden at Hinton Ampner
Dust off those boots and enjoy a winter walk around our grounds. Take in picturesque views over the South Downs and discover the winter crops in our Walled Garden.
Please be aware that some areas of our gardens are currenlty not accessible due to the weather. Wet conditions lead to water logging causing the pathways to become slippery and unsafe. Our welcome team at visitor reception will be able to guide you as to which areas are open for your visit.
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.
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 February air with fragrance whilst the very unassuming Christmas box, ‘ sarcococca confusa’ may flower from December depending on the weather.
Many of the perennials die back but if left unpruned have a ghostly skeleton and look rather dramatic when covered with frost. The Maiden grass 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.
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.