Councillor Keith Mans, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “I’m thrilled that Sir Harold Hillier Gardens has once again secured a gold award in recognition of horticultural excellence. After a uniquely challenging year for the team, it’s a real credit to staff, volunteers, Curator David Jewell and Head Gardener Fran Clifton, led by Director Clare Goddard, to scoop this prestigious accolade.
“The Gardens have offered visitors a sanctuary during the Covid-19 pandemic – and the facilities have been boosted recently by the opening of the new Garden Restaurant where you can enjoy locally sourced Hampshire food in a stunning setting. This is a world-class venue offering botanical beauty at all times of year, although I strongly recommend a visit now to enjoy its sublime autumnal vistas.”
Sir Harold Hillier Gardens won Gold in the Parks and Heritage category of the Britain in Bloom competition. In this year’s judging, assessors noted that “the Centenary Border never disappoints with the massive display of planting giving a mesmerising display of colours and form. Walking to the top of the border walk you are met by a truly inspirational sight of a large grass meadow with trees dispersed throughout - a real wow factor if nothing else for the scale of it. The Gurkha Memorial Garden is a wonderful feature in a quiet location fitting for its purpose. The Himalayan Valley is another showstopper.”
The Britain in Bloom regional accolade was first awarded to Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in 2014, and the Gardens have won every year since then.
The 180-acre garden and Arboretum near Romsey was established in 1953 by the distinguished plantsman Sir Harold Hillier, and showcases flowers, trees and plants from all over the world. It is home to some 14 national plant collections and more than 600 Champion Trees (the best example of their species) – the largest collection of any garden in Britain. The Gardens have been under the sole trusteeship of Hampshire County Council since 1977.
The new Garden Restaurant offers a brunch, lunch and afternoon menu from Jermyn’s House, the former home of the Hillier family, which has been refurbished and extended. The restaurant is open to guests with day entry tickets or members.
Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Arboretum is open to visitors every day of the year except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. For more details visit: Sir Harold Hillier Gardens | Hampshire County Council (hants.gov.uk)