Borde Hill boasts an exquisite collection of over 180 stunning magnolia varieties. 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 showcases an array of early-spring specimens, including the regal Magnolia sprengeri var. ‘Diva;‘ the towering 60ft Magnolia campbellii; Magnolia dawsoniana; and Magnolia sargentiana var. robusta. 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.
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. 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.
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.”
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