Association of Friends Groups

Dean Garnier Garden

Thomas Garnier was Dean of Winchester from 1840-1872.  Passionate about plants from an early age he was a founding member of the Hampshire Horticultural Society and created the beautiful garden and arboretum at Bishopstoke Rectory.  Many of the mature trees that surround the Cathedral were planted by him and he worked tirelessly to bring civic and ecclesiastical Winchester together; thus it seemed appropriate to dedicate this garden to his memory.

It is on the site of the Benedictine Monastery’s dormitory and provides a magnificent view of the Cathedral’s South Transept.  On the south side are the remains of the old Deanery Bake house the Deanery itself, parts of which date back to the 13th century.  Indeed, a fine 13th century doorway frames the new oak door that has quickly acquired a soft silvery patina blending with the medieval stone wall.

Resting quietly in the shadow of the medieval wall, with a backdrop of the south transept of Winchester Cathedral, a small peaceful garden welcomes visitors to pause a while and enjoy its tranquillity.  Although only created in 1995, it has a feeling of permanence and blends comfortably with the ancient inner close.  Enter through the large oak door, usually open between 9am and 3pm, climb the steps and the deceptively simple design invites investigation.  Yew and box hedges repeat the tradition that has surrounded places of worship for centuries.  Pass the herb garden and the white border to the arbour and the sky is then dominated by a large beech tree overlooking a less formal flower border.  Rest on the seats, reflect on the spiralling fish sculpture and, for a moment, be part of 1,000 years’ tradition.

Most of the plants in the garden were popular in the 19th century a time of exuberant colour and many have been collected from foreign parts by the intrepid exploring plantsmen eager to introduce new species and varieties.

The Hampshire Gardens Trust was invited to coordinate the development of the Garden in 1995 and it consists of three garden ‘rooms’.  The Friends of the Dean Garnier Garden now care for the garden.

Please click here for information on how to join the Friends of Dean Garnier Garden.

Dean Garnier Garden

Dean Garnier Garden, March 2012