Majestic Magnolias in bloom at Borde Hill

Nestled in the heart of West Sussex, Borde Hill boasts an exquisite collection of more than 180 stunning magnolia varieties.
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Hailed as a 'mecca for magnolia lovers,' the Garden is a horticultural gem that celebrates the vast diversity and beauty of these much-loved trees.

A self-guided Magnolia Trail, available from February to mid-April, will allow visitors to take a stroll through nature’s beauty, showcasing an array of early-spring specimens, including the regal Magnolia sprengeri var. 'Diva;' the towering 60ft Magnolia campbellii var. Mollicomata; Magnolia dawsoniana; and Magnolia sargentiana var. robusta.

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These magnificent trees trace their roots back to the early 1900s when notable Plant Hunters such as EH Wilson, George Forrest and ­others introduced their seedlings into cultivation. Many of Borde Hill’s majestic giants have earned the coveted status of being a 'champion' tree, with the tallest height or largest girth within the British Isles.

Magnolia 'Diva'.Magnolia 'Diva'.
Magnolia 'Diva'.

The magnolia blooms continue into May, when the Garden comes alive with late-flowering varieties, such as the elegant Magnolia obovata from Japan, the stately Magnolia fraseri from the USA, and the exquisite Magnolia officinalis from China. These magnolias are admired not only for their scented displays but also for their remarkable bark. Robin Lane Fox of the Financial Times recently described these three 'champions' as ‘a holy trinity' in this 'haven of historic specimens.'

The magnolia display at Borde Hill thrives into the summer months, when visitors can discover Magnolia 'Kay Parris' gracing the Italian Garden terrace with beautiful blooms throughout July and August. While standing tall beside the Grade II* listed Elizabethan Mansion, Magnolia grandiflora 'Goliath' adds grandeur to the heart of the Garden.

In 2018, the spectacular Gardiner Grove was established, featuring 50 American and Asiatic magnolia hybrids. This remarkable project, made possible by a generous donation of plants from John Ravenscroft of Cherry Tree Park in Cheshire, was curated with care, under the guidance of former RHS Vice-President and member of Borde Hill’s Garden Council, Jim Gardiner.

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As they explore, visitors can wander along planted tree circles, where genetically similar groups of stunning magnolias are showcased, enabling visitors to appreciate both the similarities and distinctions among these exciting new specimens.

Magnolia var mollicomata.Magnolia var mollicomata.
Magnolia var mollicomata.

Head of Horticulture, Harry Baldwin says: "Now in its 5th year, Gardiner Grove is beginning to bud up and showcase some of the best modern magnolia hybrids in cultivation. Designed by Jim Gardiner, the area reflects the diversity of magnolia flowers, ranging from delicate double pinks, to striking yellows and ivory whites – it's a sight not to be missed!"

Magnolias are an important part of the Garden’s horticultural legacy, with Gardiner Grove being one of the latest phases in Borde Hill’s ongoing evolution.

By exploring the Garden, visitors can witness plantings that span its 130-year history, from TROBI ‘champions’ of the past, to potential ‘champions’ of the future. As Vanessa Berridge aptly titled her book on this nationally important Garden, Borde Hill is indeed a "Plant Hunter's Paradise."

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Visitors can experience the beauty of Borde Hill's renowned magnolia collection first hand now the garden has opened.

Magnolia 'Black Tulip'.Magnolia 'Black Tulip'.
Magnolia 'Black Tulip'.

Self-guided Magnolia Trails are available from visitor reception and are included in garden admission. For an extra charge, groups of 15 people or more can enhance their visit by pre-booking a guided tour with Head of Horticulture Harry Baldwin.

The historic magnolia collection at Borde Hill includes

Magnolia sprengeri var diva – Old Rhododendron Garden

Magnolia acuminata – West Garden

Magnolia tripetala – Garden of Allah

Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Brozzonii’– Azalea Ring

Magnolia x soulangeana – Garden of Allah

Magnolia stellata - Italian Garden

Magnolia campbellii ‘Borde Hill’ – Warren Wood

Magnolia kobus – Old Rhododendron Garden

Magnolia delaveyi- Old Playground – champion girth

Magnolia liliflora ‘Susan’ – Old Rhododendron Garden

Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Black Tulip’ – Garden of Allah

Magnolia campbellii – Azalea Ring – champion girth

Magnolia x veitchii – Azalea Ring

Magnolia x soulangeana’ Brozzonii’ – Azalea Ring

Magnolia campbellii var mollicomata--Garden of Allah

Magnolia obovata – Garden of Allah – champion girth

Magnolia fraseri – Garden of Allah – champion girth

Magnolia officinalis-Garden of Allah-champion tree

Magnolia dawsoniana – Old Rhododendron Garden

Magnolia sargentiana robusta – Old Rhododendron Garden

Magnolia grandiflora Goliath – Mansion House

The Garden is open daily until December 22, 10am-5pm (10am-3pm from November 1.

Admission: Adults: £12.00, Concession: £11.50, Child (aged 3-16): £8.00, Group (15+): £9.50 pre-paid, Garden Tours: from £100 for up to 25 people, plus the Group entry price.

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