“First young swallows. Cut the first succade-melon. Grasshopper-lark sings day & night.” – Gilbert White, 4 July, 1768
Join Gilbert White’s House & Gardens in celebrating its 30th anniversary of the Unusual Plants Fair over 17th- 18th June.
Following its establishment in 1992, the fair was a trailblazer in bringing together stallholders from across the country with unique and quirky plants. Every year visitors are delighted by the selection of specialist nurseries and leave with their car boots full of plants. The only exception was 2020 when covid prohibited the Fair from opening. But this lapse has meant the team at Gilbert White’s House & Gardens is preparing to put on a great display for the official 30th Unusual Plants Fair.
Tracing the footsteps of the pioneering 18th century naturalist Gilbert White (1720-1793), who was the David Attenborough of his day, the event seeks to inspire a love for the natural world. In addition to White’s interest in ornithology, he was a keen gardener and experimented with growing melons in hotbeds – a gardening skill which was still in its early stages during the 1700s.
At the Unusual Plants Fair, experts will be on hand to provide visitors with advice on their curious plant delights throughout the day. Whether it be how or where to plant a new specimen, or providing fun facts and recommendations for planting schemes, the experts have lots of hints and tips to share. There will be talks and demonstrations during the day including posy making.
The Unusual Plants Fair is always held over Father’s Day weekend and so it provides the perfect way for you to treat their loved ones to something special. After browsing the stalls, you can kick up your feet and relax on the lawn with some tea and cake from the café. Or if you fancy something heartier, you can enjoy food from the BBQ and wash it down with a beer from the onsite 1765 brewery.
2023 saw Gilbert White’s House & Gardens open the Jubilee Taproom, which during White’s time was a pub called The Compasses. White kept a regular diary of his own brewing exploits and just 13 days before his death in 1793, he had been bottling up beer in his brewhouse. Local volunteers have brought his legacy back to life, using recipes inspired by White’s own brewing and using the hops grown in the kitchen garden.
The gardens are at their peak during June. Roses beautifully scent the cottage garden, whilst the herb garden provides different shades and textures. The flag iris’ put on a brilliant show at the pond, meanwhile the fruit and vegetables bulk up in the kitchen garden and the wildflower meadow is awash with colour delighting all. Visitors to the Unusual Plants Fair gain access to both the historic house and gardens, with their admission to the Fair.
Specially for the 30th Anniversary, entry for children is free and it is half price entry for adults, (entry includes admission to the house and gardens).
The 30th anniversary of the Unusual Plants Fair is set to be the biggest and most intriguing yet, so be prepared to be dazzled by the wondrous array of out of the ordinary plants!Book here!