Historic Nerine Collection on Display

Exbury’s unrivalled collection of sparkling Nerine sarniensis or ‘Jewel Lilies’ will be on public display at Exbury Gardens daily from the 3rd October to 1st November in the Five Arrows Gallery. This fantastic collection is being specially prepared to highlight the extraordinary beauty of these hybrids as they scintillate under direct light.

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, holder of 8 RHS Gold Medals for plant photography and the Veitch Gold Memorial Medal for contributions to horticulture.

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.

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.

The Exbury collection will be displayed throughout October in the Five Arrows Gallery, where their extraordinary beauty will be shown off to best advantage. A wide range of nerines will be available to purchase, with growing instructions included.

Admission to the exhibition is included with entrance to the world-famous Gardens, which will be looking spectacular with brilliant autumnal colour. The exhibition opens from Sat 3 Oct – Sun 1 Nov 2014, 10am – 5pm.

‘A truly fantastic day out. My wife and I were bowled over by the amazing spring colours of rhododendrons and azaleas and there was literally colour everywhere. There are beautiful areas to walk through as well as places to sit. We took a picnic in the hope of being able to sit by one of the ponds and were not disappointed – the reflections were as spectacular as the real thing! The next thing we want to do is return in the autumn to see the colours change as it must be beautiful’

David Parker, Christchurch

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