The event is only open to members of Chandlers Ford Art Group.
You do not have to be a member of Hillier Gardens to join the event, but if you are not, there will be a charge of £5.
The event will be held at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens on one of three possible dates, depending on the weather.
- Saturday 20 May – weather permitting, or
- Saturday 3 June – if not held on 20 May, or
- Saturday 17 June – if not held on 20 May or 3 June
The decision (based on the weather forecast) to hold or postpone the event, will be made on the Wednesday prior to the event and will be communicated to all members via email.
Members will be allowed into the grounds at any time after 10am.
Bring some basic art equipment and a lightweight chair if you would like to – use the day to sketch in the grounds, paint a lovely view, sit by the pond or chat to friends. It will be a great chance to welcome our new members. You need not be on your own unless you want to be. There is plenty to talk about! The brightly coloured lanyards we have given everyone will identify all group members – please feel free to talk to anyone wearing a lanyard! At 3.00pm we will meet in the Tilia Tree Café (just beyond Jermyn’s House) for a cream tea.
Sir Harold Hillier Gardens is an arboretum comprising 72 hectares accommodating over 42,000 trees and shrubs in about 12,000 taxa, notably a collection of oaks, camellia, magnolia and rhododendron. It opens at 10am and the gates close at 6pm – you must be off site by then, or you will be locked in and you will be unable to get your car out of the car park. There is a bus stop outside for those that ignore this warning!
There is a car park on the left as you drive into the grounds, with further space a little way in, and disabled parking just before arriving at the Visitors’ Reception building. As you approach the reception area you will see Chandlers Ford Art Group signs directing you to one side of the usual visitors’ route in, and we will give each member a brightly coloured identification lanyard. Please wear it, and keep it for future meetings! These will help all of us recall names which will be a great help. These lanyards have a safety feature so that you won’t hang yourself if you get tangled up in any foliage. You will also be given a map and a list of plants of special interest on that day.
You may arrive at any time after 10am. You can then spend the day doing whatever you like – it’s your day out! perhaps walking, admiring the plants, picnicking, reading, or just sitting having a chat. You are welcome to sketch or paint – and Hillier Gardens staff are aware that you may be bringing easels, wheeled trolleys etc. You can bring a picnic lunch, or purchase coffee/sandwiches/food on site. Do bring a bottle of water with you, a brimmed hat and sunscreen, and a sunshade. There are seats around the grounds, but a light fold-up chair may be useful. It would be a good idea to label your equipment prior to the day. There is plenty of space at the Tilia Tree to leave it safely, and collect it as you leave.
During the Summer the Gardens are very popular and access to the car parks can often be very difficult. It is recommended that you arrive early to avoid disappointment. Hillier Gardens have recommended we arrive before 11am to ensure finding a place to park. This is especially important if rain in the days before the event means that the grass overflow car parks are shut.
The Tilia Tree restaurant is about a 500 metre walk from the main entrance. It is a pleasant walk that will take you through the Centennial Border, which is usually very beautiful. If you have any mobility concerns, and think this might be too much for you, please let us know well before the event.
The Tilia Tree Cafe
Chandlers Ford Art Group will have sole use of the Tilia Tree Cafe from 3.30pm to 4.30pm on the day of our visit. Your lanyard will admit you – so please remember it!
There is seating inside and outside at the Tilia Tree. There is little shade outside so bring a sunshade or umbrella – there will not be enough room for everyone to be seated inside.
The cream tea will consist of tea or coffee, a (large) fruit or plain scone, cream, strawberry jam and strawberries. All dietary requirements will be passed to the staff. (Ed. note: they did a very good vegan one last year!)
photos on this page from the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens website or copyright Roy Brophy