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Historic Gardens Weekend at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum

PUBLISHED: 15:14 09 June 2015 | UPDATED: 15:14 09 June 2015

The Historic Gardens Weekend, 3-5 July, is a wonderful opportunity to see the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum’s six period gardens.

Each garden has been carefully recreated to show the transition of gardens from the early 16th century through to the late 19th century – gardens that would have been typical of the ordinary farmhouses and cottages that they adjoin.

This event uniquely showcases each garden, which not only represents the period of its adjoining house but also the social status of the householder. Herbs, vegetables and plants that would have met the needs of rural households over the centuries provide an informative, attractive and historical display.

Although the earliest gardens were purely utilitarian, the Museum’s gardens show how, moving forwards through the centuries and social levels, people began to grow plants purely for their aesthetic qualities – the beginning of decorative planting and ornamental displays.

Carlotta Holt, Museum Gardener, with her team of volunteer gardeners will be on hand in the six gardens to talk about the work they do; Carlotta will be giving a daily talk and walk through some of the gardens over the three event days.

In the Museum’s Market Square visitors will enjoy interesting demonstrations of the medicinal uses of plants. The Museum’s herbarium – a collection of every species of plant which grows on the Museum’s site dried, pressed and recorded – will be on display, and demonstrations of cooking using the Museum’s own produce will be held in the Winkhurst Tudor kitchen. Traditional cosmetics, plus processes such as natural dyeing and garden tool-making will be demonstrated around the site, as well as an 18th century still room.

The Museum has 50 historic buildings which have been rescued from destruction, moved and carefully reconstructed on the downland site. Whatever the weather it is a great opportunity to bring friends and family to the Museum’s idyllic location which is set in the heart of the South Downs National Park near Chichester, West Sussex.

The Historic Gardens Weekend is open daily from 11am – 5pm and is included in the admission price to the Museum. The lakeside café will be open, plus there are indoor and outdoor picnic areas. Dogs on leads are welcome and there is ample free parking. Normal Museum entry charges apply. The Museum is open from 10.30am and will close at 6pm.

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