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Royal visit marks Sir Harold Hillier Gardens' 60th anniversary

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Duchess of Cornwall visits Hillier Gardens

Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall will visit Hampshire County Council's Sir Harold Hillier Gardens on Tuesday 9 July 2013 to mark its 60th Anniversary, and officially open the refurbished and extended Centenary Border.

Her Royal Highness will make a short tour of the 180 acre garden paradise, set in the heart of countryside at Ampfield near Romsey, and meet local school children in the Education Garden before making her way to the Centenary Border which is 250 metres long - the same length as London's Tower Bridge and the longest double border in the UK.

The Duchess will be welcomed by Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Dame Mary Fagan DCVO JP, Chairman of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Ken Thornber CBE and Councillor Roy Perry the Trustee of Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Leader of Hampshire County Council.

Sir Harold Hillier was the third generation of a famous nursery family. He was a great plantsman and started the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens 60 years ago.

In 1964 he celebrated the 100th anniversary of his grandfather having started the nursery business. He did so by planting the Centenary Border.

In the early part of the 21st century, the Centenary Border was becoming overgrown and the background shrubs and trees had become too large.

In a project that has been five years in planning and taken two years to complete with the help of more than 150 volunteers, the Border has been enriched with even more plant diversity.

There are now 800 different types of plants in the Border, adding to the 42,000 plants in the Gardens creating an encyclopaedic display of glorious colours, smells and textures.

Duchess with Henry Hilliers Bear and bouquet

During her visit, the Duchess will be invited to plant a Sorbus Lemon Drop tree into the Border and an identical tree will also be presented to Her Royal Highness as a gift. The tree was chosen to symbolise the 60th anniversary of the Gardens this year as it was a cultivar of a tree selected at the Hillier Nursery around 60 years ago.

Councillor Roy Perry said: "It is a real honour that Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall will join us to celebrate such a milestone in the history of the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens. The Gardens have enjoyed Royal patronage since they were opened to the public in the late 1970s and long may that special relationship continue. The Gardens are so beautiful at this time of year and offer something for everyone, families and garden enthusiasts alike. The refurbishment and expansion of the Centenary Border is testament to the dedication and attention to detail of all those involved and will be a wonderful addition for all who come to enjoy these spectacular Gardens."

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