Colour Burst in Exbury Gardens, Hampshire

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There are places I visit as a twenty-something-year-old where I wish I was fifteen years younger so that it was socially acceptable for me to drop everything and go play. Exbury Gardens is one of those places.

It’s a maze of colourful plants, climbable trees and jazzy flowerbeds. And there’s a mini steam train. I might have been a little patronising about how excited my boyfriend was to get on one of those, but it didn’t take much convicing to get me on board and the little journey through the gardens was fun.

I could probably name only a handful of all the plants in Exbury Gardens, but if you pointed at one at said: rhododendron, there was a pretty big chance you got it right. Exbury is particularly famous for the Rothschild Collection of those, and they are lush. Vibrant colours, huge flowers; they are everywhere.

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I once read somewhere that gardener is one of the happiest jobs. If you happent o be a gardener at Exbury that has to be true. Walking through the jungle of colours and smells, you can’t but think what an epic gardening project this must have been and how satisfying it must be to keep the place so beautiful. And it’s not just the pretty rhododendrons; there’s a Japanese garden, winter garden, rock garden, daffodil meadow… and yes, I even found a plant called Monica, which is close enough!

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The great thing about Exbury Gardens is that whether you are a horticulturalist or can barely keep a cactus alive, you will love it.

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