Warm weather and earlier than normal signs of spring have led to a famous West Sussex garden opening its doors earlier than expected.
Many of the fabulous magnolias at Borde Hill, near Haywards Heath, are flowering a couple of weeks earlier than last year.
So to share these magnificent displays with the public, the garden has decided to open daily from Saturday March 25.
Borde Hill say there are also many fine rhododendrons, camellias and spring bulbs in flower throughout the garden.
Many of the magnolias at Borde Hill are listed as ‘Champion’ trees, and the garden currently has a total of 83 ‘Champion’ trees – making it one of the largest collections to be found in a private garden in the British Isles. Many are the original plants collected by the Great Plant Hunters of the early 1900s and planted over 80 years ago by the garden’s founder Colonel Stephenson R. Clarke.
They continue to flower with dramatic beauty each year.
Head Gardener, Andy Stevens, said: “Nothing beats the sight of a 70-foot tall Magnolia campbellii in full bloom.”
The magnolia is one of the oldest and most primitive of all flowering plants.
The flower, which has decorated Chinese porcelain and featured in paintings and tapestries throughout the centuries, is regarded as a symbol of purity.
While most magnolias flower in the spring before the leaves appear, Borde Hill’s collection of many species extend the flowering period into the summer months.