The Gardens

A visitor once described Exbury Gardens 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.

Lionel de Rothschild was a keen collector of plants and he was also a highly successful hybridiser of many different species and Exbury is still filled with his creations. This tradition has been continued by his descendants, Edmund and Leopold and his grandsons, Nicholas and Lionel who actively continue to develop the gardens to this day.

Lionel had several strands in his hybridisation programme but it was generally

dominated by a desire to produce increased hardiness, better flowers and improved flowering.

In the years that Lionel devoted to Exbury, he was innumerable crosses of which he kept only the best. His stud book records 1210 hybrids that he considered successful. He further analysed these and decided that 452 were worthy of being individually named and registered with the Royal Horticultural Society.

Subsequent generations have continued to hybridise and Rothschild crosses continue to grace the show benches of the RHS.

‘We recently had some friends from London to visit and were looking for something to entertain our young children for the day. We decided to give Exbury Gardens a try and I thought it was wonderful. We had Sunday lunch in the restaurant and the food was far superior to other local attractions so compliments to the chef. Walking through the gardens was beautiful with lots of little pathways to explore. I have lived in the Romsey area for many years and always thought Exbury was a little out of the way but it only took me 20 minutes from the motorway. We will definitely be a regular visitor from now on.’

Philip Moulds, New Forest

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