These trees will continue to bloom throughout September.
The deciduous tree (Emmenopterys henryi) is native to central and south-west China and was introduced to Britain in 1907 by the great plant hunter Ernest Wilson.
Head Gardener, Andy Stevens said: ‘The flowers are creamy white and pleasantly scented with a corolla white bract. The older of the two trees was planted in 1928, and flowered for the first time last year is also blooming again. This tree was grown at Borde Hill Garden from a seed collected by Plant Hunter George Forrest, whilst the younger sister tree was planted in the late 1970s following a Kew Gardens expedition. For many years we waited to see the Emmenopterys henryi in flower, so to see it in bloom for the second year in a row is a horticultural amazement.’
Described by Wilson as “one of the most strikingly beautiful trees of Chinese forests”, the Emmenopterys herryi is notoriously shy to flower in the West. It has reddish-purple young shoots and striking red leaves in spring, which mature to a glossy green, producing a shock of small creamy white flowers.
The first tree to flower in the West was at Villa Taranto by Lake Maggiore, Italy, in 1971, while the first in the UK was at Kew Gardens’ sister site Wakehurst Place, West Sussex, in 1987.
The original seed, collected from Yunnan in Southern China, was founded on one of the many expeditions sponsored by Col Stephenson Clarke over nearly 40 years, that helped create the notable collection of trees and shrubs at the Grade II* listed garden.
Andrewjohn Stephenson Clarke said, ‘We are enormously pleased to see both Emmenopterys henryi flowering again this year. My great-grand father planted the older tree but never saw it flower, neither did his son or grandson. We had to wait until the fourth generation of my family to see this amazing tree bloom.’
Borde Hill holds the largest collection of ‘champion’ trees to be found in private collection in the British Isles.
The family still occupies the Elizabethan Mansion, which lies at the heart of the 200-acre Estate.
For further information about Borde Hill Garden please log onto www.bordehill.co.uk or phone 01444 450326. or the Head Gardener, Andy Stevens on 07825731168
Borde Hill Garden is Open daily until 4th of November from 10am -5pm.