White House Farm Arboretum

The arboretum and wood

The 7-acre WHF arboretum (28 years old) and 3-acre wood (13 years old) contain around 95% specimens of recorded wild provenance and new hybrids, exploring their viability over time in SE England woodland and open conditions.

Planting from scratch over what used to be a pick-your-own strawberry field and bramley orchard (some trees left as supports for roses, clematis and wisterias) has taught us a lot about the relative success of different methods of planting, pruning, propagation, growth acceleration, disease and weed control. Screens from wind, an early priority, have been crucial; the nursery conditions in the wood have been vital in sheltering less robust species. Many rare trees are now in full characteristic form after nearly three decades.

Highlights in the open arboretum include fine examples of rare quercus, acer, betula, carpinus, sorbus, tilia, pterocarya and many conifers, interplanted with shrubs such as corylopsis, mahonia, rosa, viburnum, berberis, deutzia and philadelphus.

The wood features collections of wild species camellias, rhododendrons, sorbus and mahonia; and new hybrids, particularly of H. serrata and H. aspera on trial, crossed and raised by Maurice Foster (such as H. aspera ‘Hot Chocolate‘ and H. aspera ‘Rosemary Foster‘).