The Winter Garden at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens celebrates 25 years since its inception and is one the largest of its kind in Europe. If you’ve never seen a winter garden before, now is the time to visit this four-acre oasis, delighting the senses and lifting the spirit, with an impressive display of witch hazel and other winter flowering shrubs.
The vibrant colours, bold shapes, textures, and fragrances are a treat for the senses, with beds and borders planted with more than 650 different plants, all chosen for their winter beauty. As deciduous trees and shrubs let go of the last of their tired leaves and herbaceous plants retreat below ground to wait for spring, there are many plants that put on their best show at this time of year. The cooler months provide a unique atmosphere within the Gardens, the low sunlight catches the foliage at dusk and provides an uplifting sight for visitors.
When the creation of the Winter Garden began on 9 December 1996, the vision to incorporate sustainable solutions into its construction was realised, with 100s of tons of recycled Hampshire green waste and rubble repurposed from road repairs used in its landscaping, together with recycled plastics to support accessible footpaths. Sustainable planting continues to be a feature of the Gardens with the newly created seed propagation unit in summer 2021, designed to grow and nurture plants that may be at risk due to rising temperatures and to provide educational opportunities at the site.
The Winter Garden can be found near the Visitor and Education Pavilion and is at its best from December to February.