Exbury's Gilbury Lane Garden to go on display

Daily Echo: Exbury Gardens head gardener John Anderson with a cherry tree in blossom Exbury Gardens head gardener John Anderson with a cherry tree in blossom

The gates of a secret garden in Hampshire will be opened for the first time this year – promising a spectacular display for spring.

Exbury Gardens has announced that visitors will be in for a special treat in 2014, when the never-seen-before Gilbury Lane Garden is opened to the public.

The garden, in the New Forest, will showcase hundreds of camellias, including more than 200 named varieties from the Trehane Collection, some of which have grown to 6ft.

John Anderson, head gardener, said: “Exbury is renowned as a spring woodland garden and particularly for the Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons and azaleas.

“It is our collection of magnolias and camellias that commence the season though, and the Trehane Collection will add further to visitors’ enjoyment of Exbury in March and April. The Gilbury Lane Garden has never been accessible before – it is a lovely garden with mature trees and a carpet of primroses in the spring.

“The area was replanted after the great storm of 1987, and covers between 2-3 acres. It was the natural spot to plant the camellias in 2006.”

Exbury already has renowned Camellia Walks, but these are found at the far end of Home Wood, some distance from the main entrance, whereas the Gilbury Lane Garden will be readily accessible just a short walk from the entrance and tea rooms.

The planting scheme in Gilbury Lane Garden is very different too, and visitors will be able to discover named, individual camellias. John, who is planning a guidebook to help visitors through the garden, added: “We recognise our visitors wish to know more about the trees and plants they are seeing. In many cases they will be inspired to make a purchase for their own garden, and these publications will assist in that respect.”

The Gilbury Lane Garden will be accessible to visitors when Exbury opens for the new season on March 15, and entrance to the new garden will be included within the gardens ticket price. The garden will only be open for the spring and will close after the camellia flowering season.

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