Spring flower power at Exbury Gardens

An array of rare plants will be on display indoors and out when Exbury Gardens in the New Forest opens its gates for the season on 18 March.

Visitors can see beautiful lachenalias, also known as leopard lilies, and gorgeous orchids displayed in an indoor exhibition at the popular Hampshire woodland garden and then wander outdoors amongst one of the UK’s finest collections of spring flowering camellias.

The exhibition of lachenalia plants and dozens of floriferous orchids will be on show in the Five Arrows Gallery within the gardens from March 18-31. Exbury has one of the UK’s best collections of lachenalias and these stunning plants, a relative of the hyacinth, offer a bright display of colour in the early spring months. Entrance to the exhibition is included in the gardens’ admission price.

Exbury is also a Camellia Garden of Excellence, famed for its camellias some of which are around 100 years old, and these provide the first floral treats of the year with hundreds of different varieties and whole trees covered in bloom. Tips on how to grow and care for the camellias, and a series of special talks and walks by experts, will be on offer, and plants will also be on sale to purchase.

Camellia Walk
Camellia Walk

Visitors will also be able to explore Daffodil Meadow, which is planted with thousands of the yellow spring favourites, and the River of Gold, a 100,000-bulb colour burst that weaves around rare trees near Exbury House.

Other 2023 season highlights at Exbury Gardens will include:

  • Half price entrance for mums on Mother’s Day 19 March
  • A camellia spotlight tour around the gardens on 23 March with one of the knowledgeable horticulture team. Tickets are £5 and £3 for Friends of Exbury members.
  • Willow Bird Feeder Workshop on 24 March – create a stylish biodegradable feeder, using UK-grown willow, to treat the birds in your garden this spring. £45 for a half day including tea and coffee.
  • Botanical Painting Workshop – Camellias: on 31 March. Join botanical drawing and painting expert Sandrine Maugy, who exhibits her work internationally, for a beginner-friendly workshop painting the beautiful Exbury camellias. £85 for an all-day workshop.
  • A special focus on trees in June with tree-themed visitor attractions and events
  • Exbury Festival of Music – three nights of live music during August in the gardens

“Exbury is renowned for being one of the best woodland gardens in Europe and we are really lucky to have many rare and unusual plants within our 200 acres,” said Tom Clarke, head gardener at Exbury Gardens.

“We’ll be putting Exbury’s fantastic plant collections at the heart of everything we do during 2023, demonstrating the wonderful diversity of the plant kingdom. We’ll be highlighting our best plants, making it easier for people to find them within the gardens when they are in full bloom, as well as giving visitors lots of information on how to grow certain varieties in their own homes.”