Every week the staff here at Exbury will be compiling their must-sees in the gardens, focusing on a different area or garden each week. We hope that you will be able to use this as a snappy guide when visiting and that our favourite viewpoints, blooms and garden features might become your favourites too.
Focus 6th July: two of our summer gardens, the Centenary Garden and the Sundial Garden.
As summer gardens, both the Herbaceous Garden and the Sundial Garden boast beautiful displays of vibrant dahlias. The Sundial Garden, in particular, has some stunning varieties putting on colourful shows at the moment. Pictured below are Dahlia ‘Fire and Ice’ and the tall Collarette Dahlia ‘Pooh’. Can you guess which is which by their names?
Interesting fact: Dahlias are not usually scented and attract pollinating insects with their bright colouring.
It is impossible for anyone to visit the Sundial Garden and not to sit under the wisteria which, although not flowering at the moment, is a stunning sight from all angles. Sitting beneath the pergola, hidden away, shaded by overhead branches and bathed in the unique green haze produced by sun filtering through leaves, you can feel as if you are the only person in the whole world.
The Centenary Garden has been planted so that one side mirrors the other and this can be seen best from the curved bench at the very back of the garden. From this viewpoint, the midsummer flowers, ornamental grasses, roses and shaped shrubs, can all be taken in at once, giving a sense of cohesion and clarity that is very much needed in these uncertain times.
A number of perennials are flowering at the moment in the Centenary Garden and add pops of colour in this contemporary space. If you walk around slowly you’ll see lots of bumble bees and pollinating insects enjoying spiky Eryngium (sea holly) × zabelii 'Big Blue', neon pink Penstemon ‘Garnet’ and tall soft purple Veronicastrum ‘Adoration’, all pictured below.
Marie-Louise Agius, the designer of our Centenary Garden, uses ornamental grasses to add an element of calm to our newest garden. A range of grasses have been expertly planted to add movement, height, texture and depth. These include, Hakonechloa macra, Anemanthele lessoniana, Miscanthus ‘Yakushima Dwarf’ and Stipa gigantea (some pictured below). Their movement creates a soothing affect, which is sensory in both sound and sight. Watch as they sway, rustle and ‘breath’ with the wind.
In the Centenary Garden you’ll see throngs of sunny Hermerocallis ‘Golden Chimes’ (pictured above) - the genus Hermerocallis being known to many as daylilies. Pass through the hedge to the Sundial Garden, another summer garden, and you’ll see bands of elegant Oriental lilies (pictured below), sometimes called true lilies, belonging to the genus Lilium.
Interestingly, daylilies and liliums, although somewhat similar in appearance, are not in fact related. To list just a few of these differences: Daylilies grow from roots and liliums from bulbs; liliums have a single stem whereas daylilies have multiple stems; liliums always have six petals yet daylilies have three petals and three sepals.
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