The Gardens of Hampshire celebrate Capability Brown

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To mark the 300th anniversary of ‘Capability’ Brown, Visit England are promoting 2016 as the ‘Year of the English Garden’ with a campaign spotlighting the country’s fantastic gardens.

Celebrations are taking place across the country and if you find yourself in the Hampshire area of the South Downs National Park, for example, you will find plenty of attractions and wonderful gardens to visit.

This year will be the ideal time to take a break and visit the quintessentially English gardens of some of our literary greats – like Jane Austen or the naturalist Gilbert White, historic house formal gardens or wonderful botanic gardens. Added to this is an interesting range of garden-related events and activities in celebration of Capability Brown.

Hampshire has some wonderful gardens including the loved garden of Jane Austen in Chawton (now Jane Austen’s House Museum) where visitors can experience it much as it was in Jane’s day. The museum celebrates Jane’s green fingers by holding garden events each year.

At nearby Chawton House, (pictured banner above) owned by Jane’s brother Edward, visitors can enjoy its beautiful Capability Brown inspired parkland, shrubberies and a walled kitchen garden made by Edward Austen. You can find out more about the Jane Austin museum by visiting their website at: http://www.jane-austens-house-museum.org.uk and about Chawton House by visiting: http://www.chawtonhouse.org

middfle-GilbertWhite'sgardenThe historic homeland of the 18th century writer and naturalist Gilbert White (garden pictured above) is open for all to see and includes acres of magnificent garden and parkland with wonderful vistas over the Hampshire Hangers and South Downs. White has been described as a ‘cut-price Capability Brown’ for his ability to create wonders on a low budget. Information on www.gilbertwhiteshouse.org.uk

Two National Trust properties in the county boast glorious gardens and make for a great day out. You can take a stroll at Hinton Ampner (pictured below) through 500 years of history from Civil War battles to a devastating fire. The grounds are a masterpiece of 20th century design with a fine 12 acre garden and newly opened 1,600 acres of parkland – http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hinton-ampner

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Uppark commands views as far south as the English Channel with intimate gardens, which are being restored to their original 18th century design – http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/uppark-house-and-garden

A delightful example of a 17th century garden, designed for growing plants known for their healing properties can be found at the Peterfield Physic Garden while another historic gem, the garden at Allen Gallery, Alton, opened in 1778 as a Botanical Garden, has a sundial mounted on a piece of stone from the old London Bridge rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London.

You can find information on Hampshire’s gardens and more about quirky events of all kinds taking place during 2016 by logging onto their website at: www.easthants.gov.uk/tourism

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