Garden News

Kew Palm house

Late Autumn

People always ask us Gardeners 'what do you do in the winter'? Managing a large Garden of over 200 acres means there is always more to do in the winter months than in the summer. The first job once we say goodbye to the visitors is putting the Garden to sleep for the winter. 

Magpie inkcap (young)

Fungi Surveys - November 2017

The annual fungus survey at Exbury Gardens was completed this week. Two groups, the Lymington Naturalists and the Hampshire Recording Group scoured...

Malus x robusta Red Sentinel

Autumn in the Gardens

One of the many privileges of being Head Gardener at Exbury is being able to watch the garden change throughout the seasons, this is never more obvious or beautiful than in October and November when the transition between summer and autumn begins...

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The English Garden Magazine

We were delighted and very honoured to feature in the October issue of The English Garden magazine and are very pleased to share it with you.


Autumn Glories Blog - 2nd October 2017

A kingfisher has been frequenting Top Pond. It sits in a tree on the island. Given the size of the carp in the lake you might wonder what it is eating. The fact is that kingfishers take a wide variety of prey including insects, spiders and centipedes.

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White Butterflies - 29 August 2017

White butterflies are much in evidence at this time of year. Most people know the familiar "Cabbage White" but in fact this is two species: Large White (Pieris brassicae) and Small White. In appearance, the Large White can be identified by size, by more extensive black on the wing tips and in the female by two large black spots on the upper wing...

Hydrangea Paniculata 1

High Summer - 17 August 2017

As with any garden, the weather at Exbury plays a huge part in how the garden is presented to the visitors and of course how the plants behave. This happens in a myriad of different ways from how they form buds for next year’s show of flowers...

Bombus lucorum

Bumblebees - 15th August 2017

There's more to a bumblebee than you might think.  To begin with there are 22 species in the British Isles, of which 7 are common and widespread. You could expect to find all these seven species in the average garden.

Gatekeeper male open

More About Butterflies - 1st August 2017

This summer has been kind to butterflies, or it was until the recent rains and squally weather. In spite of this deterioration there are still good numbers flying...

Meadow Brown

Summer Butterflies - 10 July 2017

This warm summer has give the butterflies a bit of a boost. For the first time in several years White Admirals were gliding along the wooded edge of Jubilee Pond. This is one of our less common species...


Mammals - 3 July 2017

It's always a treat to come across a mammal when walking around the Gardens: birds, bees, grasshoppers, butterflies are all expected and easy to see. But coming across this young fawn lying up in its "form" in the long grass was completely unexpected...

Rock rose-Cistus-in rock garden

Flowering Update for Mid Summer

In 1919 when the Gardens at Exbury were first laid out by Lionel de Rothschild it very soon became apparent that although the pH of the soil was very favourable for the cultivation of Rhododedrons the climate was far from perfect and for this we have to thank the Isle Of Wight...

Azure damselfly

Dragons and Damsels - 21 June 2017

Damselflies can be seen around the edges of most of the ponds at Exbury. They are slender, threadlike insects, mainly coloured blue or red, which when perched hold their wings along their body...

Small copper

Spring Butterflies - 8th June 2017

A good variety of spring butterflies were on the wing in late May. Especially pleasing was the sighting of a Green Hairstreak. This tiny butterfly actually looks brown in flight, which is the colour of the top side of its wings...

Vireya 1-029

Flowering Conditions - Early Summer

There was great excitement this week in the gardens team when we received a parcel of young Vireyas, a little sub-group within the Rhododendron genus...

Holly flowers

Deciduous Trees & Their Flowers - 22 May 2017

At this time of year it's worth looking closely at deciduous trees, including our native trees, which are producing the flowers which later turn into seeds, nuts or fruit. Most are not flamboyant and some are scarcely noticeable...

toad tadpoles at North Pond

Tadpoles Blog - 9 May 2017

North Pond where there is now a railway halt has a good crop of tadpoles this year. They are "toadpoles", which differ from "frogpoles" in that as they develop they stay darker...

Song thrush

Song Thrushes - 5 May 2017

Song thrushes are in full voice all over the Gardens. Their fluty whistle, repeating each phrase twice, can be heard ringing out where they sing from high perches...

Wood anemones

Wildflower Blog - 18 April 2017

Exbury has never looked so good. Blossom and colour is everywhere, and this early spring has brought on the wildlfowers as well.

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Flowering Update - April 2017

As I sit and type this for the Head Gardeners notice board, the garden here at Exbury is literally bursting into life, and with it the full ambition of Lionel de Rothschild’s original design...


Butcher's Broom - 4 April 2017

Butcher's Broom (Ruscus aculeatus) is a rather strange native plant which you can find growing along the River Walk. It is an evergreen low-growing, stiff, spiky shrub...


Early Butterflies Blog - 20th March 2017

Wednesday March 15 was a warm, sunny day which resulted in the sight of several early butterflies on the wing. Newly hatched Brimstones in lovely bright yellow...

Great Spotted Wdpckr

Tree-Climbing Birds - 15th March 2017

If you see a bird clambering up a tree trunk or upside down along a branch, it will be one of three species: a great spotted woodpecker, a nuthatch or a treecreeper. 


Winter Bird Survey - 20th February 2017

Although this is still a quiet time of year at Exbury there are encouraging signs that spring is on the way. Before the season gets into full swing, however, it's worth taking stock of the winter. 


Winter Update - 15th February 2017

As any keen gardener will know, winter is one of the busiest times of the gardener’s year. With over 200 acres of fabulous woodland garden to maintain, Exbury is no different...

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The Champion Tree - 8th February 2017

We have a fantatic collection of Conifers from all over the world...

Bolete fungus

Signs of Autumn - 30th September 2016

The year is moving along and there are now definite signs of autumn in the Gardens. Some trees have begun to shed their leaves, as can be seen...

Red Admiral

Autumn Butterflies - September 2016

There are quite a number of butterflies around at present. Beautiful fresh-looking Red Admirals are nectaring on flowers or basking in the sun...

1st pic

Hawkers - September 2016

September is the month for hawkers. Hawkers are medium to large dragonflies with a restless hawking flight... 

Common Darter

More About Dragonflies - September 2016

There are various different groups of dragonflies, not all of which are called "dragonfly". There are darters and hawkers and chasers as well as plain "dragonflies"...

emperor dragonfly

Dragonflies - August 2016

At this time of the year most of the damselflies are over, but there are plenty of dragonflies still around. In fact, this year, they seem to have emerged quite late...

gatekeepr male

Gatekeeper Butterflies - July 2016

On Daffodil Meadow Gatekeeper butterflies are at their peak. These small bright orangey-brown butterflies are often the last of the browns to emerge...

adult martin at nest

Update on House Martins - June 2016

The House Martins at their colony on the water tower are well into their nesting season. Of the eight nests which I am watching...


Lime Tree - June 2016

There is a magnificent lime tree on the main drive near Exbury House. From a distance it appears to be in full flower...


Wildflowers in May & early June - 6th June 2016

Wildflowers are beginning to come into their own. A delicate-looking white umbellifer is flowering in profusion in Daffodil Meadow. 

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House Martins - May 2016

The house martins at their colony on Exbury Water Tower have been busy since their return in early May.  The numbers have built up gradually, with nest reconstruction their first job. 

Sweet violets

Spring Wildflowers - 29th April 2016

"I know a bank where the wildflowers grow...." , to misquote the Bard, and this is the time to come and see them.


Animal Signs: Hedgehogs and Kestrels - 23rd April 2016

Hedgehogs have been in the news recently, with conservationists asking gardeners to provide gaps in their fences to allow hedgehogs to roam around looking for food. 

Evernia prunastri

Lichens - 11th April 2016

What is a lichen?  It is a composite organism consisting of a fungus and one or more algae. The fungus provides the body, and the algae produce nutrients through photosynthesis.


Birdsong - 27th March 2016

Birdsong is gathering pace as the resident species claim their territories, look for partners and prepare for the breeding season.

Male Brimstone

First Butterfly - 17th March 2016

It is always exciting when the first spring butterflies are sighted. On a mild and sunny morning in mid-March I saw three Brimstone butterflies, two males and one female...


Goshawk - 20th February 2016

In late January a dead bird of prey was picked up in the Winter Garden by some of the gardeners who were working there.


Bird Boxes - 27th January 2016

Birds are not the only creatures attracted to nest boxes: spiders, woodlice, beetles and all manner of other creepy crawlies take refuge there, often making it their winter home.

‘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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What to see in the garden on your visit


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What wildlife to spot in the gardens


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