Bloom-fest at Exbury for the coronation4th May 2023
May looks set to be blooming lovely at Exbury Gardens, thanks to a cold April – perfectly timed to mark the King’s Coronation with colourful flower-power.
Last year’s warm spring saw the gardens already in full bloom by mid-April but 2023’s cool spring and Storm Noa have seen the gardens holding their horticultural nerve up until now. Head gardener Tom Clarke is expecting May to be bloom-tastic, ideal for visitors over the forthcoming bank holiday weekends, and the King’s Coronation.
To celebrate the royal occasion, Exbury will be dressing its steam railway station and train carriages with union jack bunting and encouraging visitors to dress up too.
Exbury has a long roll call of royal visits with many trees planted by members of the royal family over the last century within its grounds:
👑 The first member of the royal family to visit was Queen Mary by yacht in 1925 while the King was racing at Cowes. A pier on the Beaulieu River was built for this visit.
👑 Queen Elizabeth II visited three times, in 1973, 2004 and 2008, and rode on the footplate of Leo de Rothchild’s steam train within the gardens.
👑 The King, while Prince of Wales, first visited Exbury Gardens in 1986 to open the new Visitor Centre. He too rode Leo’s train on a solo visit, returning on a later occasion in 2011 with The Duchess of Cornwall when they planted a matching pair of Ash trees. He also officially opened the Centenary Garden in 2019.
👑 Other members of the royal family who have visited the gardens, almost all planting trees to commemorate their visit, include George V and Queen Mary in 1931;· George VI and Queen Elizabeth when still Duke and Duchess of York in 1936; George VI visited again in May 1944 just prior to D Day when he inspected the Naval occupants of Exbury House, then operating as a Stone Frigate, the Duke of Windsor when Prince of Wales; the former Duke of Edinburgh; Diana Princess of Wales; Princess Margaret; The Duchess of Kent; Princess Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra.
Head gardener Tom Clarke said: “We are seeing much more of a ‘traditional’ spring in terms of timing, due to last year’s drought, a cold December, and a wet January. In the past, Exbury has always been at its most stunning in May and only in recent years has this crept forward to April. This all bodes well for the forthcoming bank holidays when visitors will get to enjoy