Garden lovers are in for a special treat this autumn as ‘Extra Time’ is played out at Exbury Gardens in the New Forest. The Gardens were due to close for the season on Sunday 3 November, but with a late autumn will now remain open until at least Sunday 17 November. Head Gardener John Anderson explains: ‘A combination of factors, including the very wet 2012; one of the coldest starts to the year in living memory and a dry, warm summer have culminated in a spectacular – but unseasonably late – autumn. We anticipate great colour over the next fortnight in Exbury’s Home Wood and Yard Wood.’
Exbury was recognised with several awards from the Royal Horticultural Society in the recent ‘Shades of Autumn Show’ in London, and have again been listed by Visit England as one of the must-see Gardens for autumn colour and interest.
The Gardens thankfully missed the worst of the St. Jude’s storm, and, although closing due to high winds, suffered only superficial damage. ‘The trees being leaf laden probably helped buffer some of the heaviest gusts’ comments John. ‘Usually by November we have witnessed the best of the autumn leaf colour and most will have fallen to the ground, but this is not the case in 2013. Asked to point out his must-see trees during the extended open period, John highlights the Liquidambers and Exbury’s National Collection of Nyssa and Oxydendrum. ‘But don’t forget our native trees such as the Oak and Beech which traditionally look at their autumnal best that much later in the season. 2013 has also been a great year for berries and fir cones whilst fungi is abundant too. Whatever your autumn interest, you will find something to demand your attention at Exbury.’
Visitors to the Gardens will also be able to admire Exbury’s collection of Nerine sarniensis in the Five Arrows Gallery, accompanied by local artist Peter Thwaites’ depictions of autumn fungi and landscapes. Mr Eddy’s Tea Rooms will also be open serving a range of refreshments.
Anthony Climpson, Employment and Tourism Manager in the New Forest, was delighted to hear that Exbury had extended its open period. ‘The New Forest is a magical place especially in the autumn, and with the season being late this year we expect a surge of visitors to enjoy walks in our special places. Exbury is certainly one of those.’
The Gardens will remain open daily from 10am with last admission at 3:30pm. The railway and buggy facilities will end on 3rd November as their winter maintenance programmes have already been scheduled.