Feels like ages since I have done a Window Wednesday. The weather hasn’t really been conducive to photographing buildings and that small matter of Christmas has also begun to get in the way. Today though was different. And although the trip was brief it was great to get out with a camera and to meet up with Annie for breakfast.
Hillier Gardens is only down the road, in a part of Hampshire I don’t really know despite living in the county for over 15 years. There is a village there called Oliver’s Battery for goodness sake. How did I not know that a town with such an epic name exists?!
Sir Harold Hillier founded the garden and arboretum in 1953
Much of Sir Harold’s time was devoted to expanding his ever-growing plant collection. He corresponded with garden owners, curators and nurserymen all over the country, and, indeed, all over the world. Many plants from his visits to such countries as Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, the United States of America, and Mexico grow in the Gardens today.
In the centre of the garden is Jermyn’s House
The date of the first house here is not certain; however, in 1724 a Farmer Jarman was reprimanded by the Manorial Court for taking land as ‘a backside’, that is as a back yard of a house, or, presumably in this case, a farm. This does indicate that the original house here could have been built in the early 18th century. It also gives us the origin of the name.
After being used as a smallpox hospital and inoculation centre in the 18th century, the next record comes in 1808 when the house and 360 acres were leased to Frederick Blundell who was instructed to plant ‘proper and sufficient quick plants along the boundaries’, the first record of planting here. It was then sold in 1822 – the first time in several hundred years – to Sir Thomas Heathcote of Hursley Park for £2,103 17s 4d.
By the beginning of World War ll it was owned by Brigadier General Cuthbertson, who made it the HQ for the local Home Guard. The General died before the end of the war and his widow sold the house to Lady Cooper.
In 1951 it was auctioned and the Hillier family took up residence in June 1953, the day after the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
Sadly we couldn’t get inside the house today as it was booked for a private lunch but it looks like a gorgeous house from the outside.
The main attraction is, of course, the garden though, so here are a selection of photos that give you an idea. Definitely a place to come back to in the summer when there is a bit more colour!
Open all year round, you can find more info on the website about opening times and prices!