Stunning new Winter Garden for Wakehurst

Wakehurst, Kew’s Wild Botanic Garden, in Ardingly, West Sussex is now home to a dynamic new Winter Garden. It will be officially launched on 23 January 2019 by Nick Bailey, horticulturist, author and presenter of Gardeners’ Question Time.

Release date: 29 November 2018

The Winter Garden is Wakehurst’s new horticultural spectacle, full of sensory delight and the perfect place to lift the spirits on a cold winter’s day. Designed by Wakehurst Garden Supervisor Francis Annette, after training at Andrew Wilson’s London College of Garden Design, it weaves 33,000 plants into a bold contemporary composition.

Mature Himalayan silver birch trees (Betula utilis var jacquemontianii), are the centre of attention. Planting them was a careful logistical operation, securing the 10ft high trees firmly into the ground with specially designed anchors. The dramatic pure white trunks rise resplendent to the sky and are interspersed with the coppery gleam of the Tibetan Cherry (Prunus serrula tibetica).

Within this canopy, the rich fragrance of Daphne and Witch Hazel, placed close to path edges, reward visitors with their perfume. Texture and colour come from massed blocks of Cornus (including the cultivars ‘Midwinter Fire’ and ‘Bud’s Yellow’), succulent bronze Bergenia, soft, feather-like Calamagrostis and Hellebores. Swathes of Cyclamen, grasses, snowdrops, Crocus and box hedging were draw the eye through the garden.

Complete immersion in winter beauty drove the design; a place to lose yourself amongst the shimmering bark, soft foliage and rich scents. You can rest on the contemporary carved seat and feel cocooned as you look up at the winter sky. The all-weather path twists and turns throughout the garden, adding to the feeling of discovery – you don’t quite know what you will see around the next corner!

Wakehurst has always been a trailblazer for winter gardens – with one of the first in the UK being created in 1986. Initially focussing on specimen-based planting, the first Winter Garden had lost its energy and in 2017 we decided the time was right for a transformation.

Notes for Editors

We have a range of great photography available tracking the planting of the Winter Garden, including lovely shots of our team covered in mud!

Wakehurst, Kew’s Wild Botanic Garden in the Sussex High Weald is one of the most beautiful and significant botanic gardens in the country. It is home to Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, which houses and protects seed from the world’s most substantial and diverse collection of threatened and useful wild plants, and leads the MSB Partnership, a crucially important global science-based conservation programme which is the largest of its kind in the world. The estate includes a contemporary botanic garden, where ornamental plantings and exotic tree and shrub collections of international importance sit within native woodland. Wakehurst’s natural assets associated with its countryside location renders it complementary to Kew’s West London site, with different growing conditions, and a real emphasis on wild plant collections. Coupled with the Millennium Seed Bank, Wakehurst offers an inspiring, immersive, and educational day out for the whole family, and serves as a vital contribution to UK and global plant conservation.

Kew receives just under half of its funding from Government through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and research councils. Further funding needed to support Kew’s vital work comes from donors, membership and commercial activity including ticket sales.

Please note that Wakehurst is referred to just as Wakehurst, not Wakehurst Place. It is not a National Trust property.


For more information please contact: Sandra Howard, Communications and Content Manager on 01444 894336.