The Great Storm of 1987
An extract from the film ‘Heaven With The Gates Open’
Written and narrated by Nicholas de Rothschild
Exbury Gardens were the inspiration of Lionel Nathan de Rothschild. It was his vision, his dedication and his resources which have created one of the finest woodland gardens in the country.
A visitor once described Exbury as “Heaven with the gates open.” It is a garden for people young and old, horticulturalist or enthusiastic gardener, or just a lover of beautiful places. From botanical rarities to masses of spectacular colour, there is something for all to enjoy – a place to escape from the cares of the world.
Lionel de Rothschild was a keen collector of plants, particularly rhododendrons and azaleas. He was also a highly successful hybridizer of many different species and Exbury is still filled with his creations. This tradition has been continued by his descendants, his sons Edmund and Leopold and grandsons Nicholas and Lionel, who actively continue to develop the gardens to this day.
Both Lionel and Edmund, who passed away in 2009 aged 93, were awarded the highest possible honour by the RHS in recognition of their horticultural achievements – the Victoria Medal of Honour. Father and son were described as “bankers by hobby, and gardeners by profession” and their Exbury legacy is today enjoyed by an annual 100,000 plus visitors from all corners of the world.