About the garden
Owned by Hampshire County Council under the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens charitable trust. Ignore the word 'gardens' – this is quite the most important modern arboretum in the UK. It is home to an amazing collection of 14 National Collections. It is listed as having the biggest collection of Champion Trees in the whole of Britain and Ireland, with 611 'Champions'.
It has a collection of more than 12,000 taxa of wild and cultivated woody plants set in 73ha (180 acres), totalling 42,000 plants. The arboretum was established in 1953 by the late Sir Harold Hillier – Hillier's Nursery aimed at the time to offer for sale every cultivar of every tree or shrub that was hardy in the British Isles.
There are many features to be found in the garden that includes the collection of poplar trees called the Populetum; more than 100 pines (Pinus species), including the 'big cone' pine P. coulteri whose cones may weigh as much as two kilos; a maple valley; the largest winter garden of its kind in Europe and a Gurkha memorial garden. It is the sheer number of trees and shrubs here that make the most lasting impression every time you visit.
The long established Winter Garden, now at four acres, is situated close to the Visitor Pavilion containing more than 650 different plants grown for their winter effect. It has been planted to show a wide range of plants that are at their best from November until March with a palette of dark, bold coloured stems, scent and foliage.
The garden also contains one of the longest mixed double perennial borders in Europe, the Centenary Border with herbaceous plants, bulbs, shrubs and trees. It is a garden for all seasons with something of interest throughout the year.