In 1919, Lionel Nathan de Rothschild of the famous banking family purchased Exbury Estate with a vision to create the finest woodland gardens in the country.

The Estate was blessed with a temperate climate, moderate rainfall and an acidic soil, all of which were suitable for growing rhododendrons and azaleas. With the wealth available to Rothschild, he was able to quickly clear the woodlands and lay out the garden. Over 22 miles of underground piping was laid for the irrigation system. Work on the property halted with the beginning of the war in 1939 and the estate was taken over by the Royal Navy as a staging area for the D-Day invasions in 1942.

Today, Exbury consists of over 200 acres of landscaped woodlands near the Beaulieu River in Hampshire. Over 120,000 people visit each year to see the famous collections of rhododendrons, azaleas and rare and magnificent specimen trees.

There are rock gardens, cascades, ponds, a water garden, heather garden and rose garden. May is probably the peak time to visit for the rhododendrons. However, there is something of interest during most of the season.

Exbury Gardens
The Estate Office
Exbury, Southampton
HampshireSO45 1AZ
Ph: 023 8089 1203

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When you think of Rhododendrons and Azaleas, it is hard not to connect with the name Exbury. The famous, hardy group of azaleas that bear the 'Exbury Hybrid' name were bred at this beautiful garden. April and May are fantastically colorful here and there are also may very mature trees to view. The thousands of rhododendrons and azaleas are all had deadheaded to keep them neat and beautiful throughout the year. A truly wonderful spring garden visit.

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