Gardening at Winchester is a privilege and a pleasure, working in the shadow of a school built in the fourteenth century is a rare and treasured opportunity. But it is so much more than providing a beautiful setting for the school and its medieval buildings. With a constant flow of boys and new ideas the school is not a museum with gardens set in time but is always looking to the future.
As the present custodians, in a long line of gardeners, we have the fascinating and delicate job of balancing past, present and future, as one does in all gardens but sometimes on quite a large timescale.
Within Winchester College we have medieval courtyards with lots of green, which works so well against the old stone and flint walls. A stunningly beautiful War Cloister built after the Great War was planted to give a simple sense of order and calm after the chaos of war. There are quads and formal gardens accommodating school activities, a recently planted, peaceful garden that provides teachers with space for a moment's contemplation, and a more vibrant, modern planting scheme to complement the glass and London brick of the music building extension. Currently we are trying to encourage wilder areas at our hidden edges to give a haven in a busy place for nature to relax and be less manicured. Winchester's main palette of greys and greens gives a calm and peaceful backdrop to the school’s everyday life, with the brighter and more floral areas tucked away for people to discover.
One of our recent, exciting projects has been the planting of cuttings taken from the College’s old and venerable London Planes, planted around 1780. Hopefully, our small cuttings will mature into magnificent trees that will be with us for the next three hundred years!
As gardeners we are so fortunate to be given the luxury of time, especially in this day and age. To plant small and wait for growth is a precious value that comes from the very place itself.
It is an enormous privilege to garden at Winchester and when, in the middle of winter, our toes and fingers are freezing from the cold, we have but to look up and see where we are and it lifts our souls and makes us smile.
7th September 2020
Celebrating our history, buildings, people and collections, the school announces two new films and a podcast as part of this year's Heritage Open Days.
29th May 2020
The role of our Porters - providing a warm welcome - as well as security for the school is as important today as it was 600 years ago. Suzanne Foster, our College Archivist, explains how the job has evolved over the centuries.
27th February 2020
During February half term, the Treasury ran a family fun day for local families to come and explore the museum and make their own amazing animal crafts, inspired by the collections.
13th January 2020
The latest exhibition in Treasury looks at Winchester's significant contribution to British Art, particularly that of artists and scholars Rendall, Gleadowe and Clark.
15th August 2019
As part of its commitment to improve access to all, the school has started to run tours for the visually impaired, which are providing a different perspective on many aspects of the school for everyone involved as guides and participants are encouraged to experience the medieval buildings and environment in new ways.
18th June 2019
A beautiful new publication showcases 50 treasures from the school's outstanding collections.