Nerine Display Sat 4th October - Sun 2nd November
See Exbury’s fantastic collection of Nerine sarniensis in the Five Arrows Gallery, specially prepared to highlight the extraordinary beauty of these hybrids as they scintillate under direct light.
The exhibtion will open daily from 10am to 5pm until Sunday 2nd November 2014.
Lionel de Rothschild first developed and hybridised these tender greenhouse-loving Nerines at Exbury in the 1920s and 1930s, coming up with many classic blooms. The collection was dispersed in 1974 when the best bulbs were acquired by enthusiast and plantsman extraordinaire, the late Sir Peter Smithers, one-time MP for Winchester and Secretary-General of the EU in Strasbourg, holder of 8 RHS Gold Medals for plant photography and the Veitch Gold Memorial Medal for contributions to horticulture.
Sir Peter selected only the best and most beautiful diamond lilies for his breeding programme, holding annual ‘beauty competitions’ on the balcony of his house, Vico Morcote, overlooking Lake Lugano in Switzerland.
In 1995, the vastly improved collection came back home to Exbury, where Nicholas de Rothschild, Lionel’s grandson, took up the challenge of developing the strain, until a glasshouse at Exbury was filled with new hybrids that he has produced.
Nicholas, president of the Nerine Society, and an expert on nerines in his own right, has taken up the mantle of developing these sparkling, beautifully coloured plants with enthusiasm.
Originally found on Table Mountain overlooking Cape Town in South Africa, the diamond lilies flower in a spectrum of colours from their original oranges, scarlet and white through new purples, pinks, mauves, reds, scarlets, copper and bronzes which scintillate in the light with gold or silver crystalline flecks that make their petals sparkle.
Nicholas has produced more than 100 new hybrids and collectors and visitors to Exbury may buy nerines that have never been seen before. Nerines will be for sale at the exhibition. To view the dedicated nerine website, visit: http://www.nerines.com/
Gardening guru Alan Titchmarsh visited the Nerine Exhibition in October 2009 and recorded in his Saturday Express Magazine column: "After 40-odd years of gardening, I like to think that I've seen some remarkable spectacles, but I can honestly say that few of them rank with the sight of a vast greenhouse full of flowering Guernsey lilies at Exbury last autumn. There, Nick de Rothschild presides over thousands of potted bulbs whose glistening flowers of white, pale pink, lilac, purple, orange and scarlet entrance all who see them. If you want gosh-factor in your autumn greenhouse, Guernsey lilies have it in shiny spades."
Price included in Gardens Admission.