Magnolias "second to none" at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens curator Wolfgang Bopp says this spring's magnolia display is better than it has been for years.

The Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, at Ampfield, near Romsey, Hampshire,  has an extensive collection of Magnolias with more than 200 different types of Magnolia and more than 350 trees and shrubs in total.

Most are spring flowering and the Magnolia Avenue is one of the stars of the show. The Avenue extends some 100 meters from the front door of Jermyn’s House flanked by mature trees with thousands of flowers, in white, cream, pink and purple.

Bopp's comments echo those of head gardener at Exbury Gardens, John Anderson, who advised on Friday that the Magnolia display at Exbury is currently the best for 10 years thanks to fewer frosts this spring.

Sir Harold Hillier started the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens 62 years ago. In 1964 he celebrated the 100th anniversary of his grandfather having started the nursery business. He did so by planting the Centenary Border. Since 1977, Hampshire County Council has been the sole Trustee of the Gardens.

In July 2013, to mark the Gardens’ 60th anniversary, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall was welcomed to officially open the refurbished and extended Centenary Border.

The Centenary Border restoration took five years of planning and two years to complete with the help of more than 150 volunteers. There are now 800 different types of plants in the Border, adding to the 42,000 plants in the gardens.

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