Exbury Gardens in the New Forest are in full bloom ready for the May Bank Holiday weekend, with displays of evergreen azaleas, rhododendrons, bluebells and Pieris all putting on a wonderful show.
Head Gardener John Anderson and his team are looking forward to Exbury’s busiest time of the year, fresh from success at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Main Rhododendron Show at Rosemoor, Devon, on Saturday. ‘The Gardens are looking magnificent. The blooms have enjoyed the mild weather of late and there have been very few spring frosts. We cut for the show last Friday and had a very early start setting out to Devon on Saturday morning, but the drive was worth it as we got to take home two trophies. The ‘Loder Cup’ was presented to Exbury for best single hybrid truss – we were competing against twenty other entries and won with a billowing Rh ‘Loderi’. These blooms are heavily scented, such that visitors to the Gardens can smell the rhododendron before they see it! Our second trophy was the JJ Crossfield Cup – which we actually retained – for the best three hybrids raised and bred by an owner / garden. In addition to the Cups we also came away with a clutch of first’s, seconds and third’s in other classes.’
John was accompanied to Rosemoor by Gardener Linda Runnacles and French student Morgane Ottaviani from the Landscape College at Blois, who was attending her first RHS Show. ‘It was a real eye-opener’ said Morgane. ‘To win the awards was very satisfying, especially after helping select the blooms from the Gardens, followed by cutting, labelling and presentation. The competition was very stiff, especially from the Cornish Gardens which are a little ahead of Exbury in terms of flowering. I’ve heard about Exbury’s spring colour and can’t wait to witness the spectacle of the full bloom period during May.’
Exbury’s magnificent collection of Loderi rhododendrons can be viewed in the 200 acre woodland gardens, together with the other prize-winning blooms from the Rosemoor RHS Show.
For details please visit www.exbury.co.uk or telephone 023 8089 1203.