ROMSEY holidaymakers opting for a staycation this year are being invited to travel the world among flowers, trees and plants from across the globe this summer.

Nature enthusiasts can take their pick of hundreds of far-flung destinations throughout Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Jermyns Lane, knowing social distancing and extra safety measures are in place.

Started in 1953 by the plantsman Sir Harold Hillier, the Gardens have been under the sole trusteeship of Hampshire County Council (HCC) since 1977.

Many plants from Sir Harold's visits to countries, such as Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, the United States of America, and Mexico grow in the Gardens today.

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Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Keith Mans, said: “The beautiful Sir Harold Hillier Gardens boast thousands of trees and plants from around the globe, including rare and threatened species that the Gardens are helping to conserve for future generations.

"There’s plenty to explore for everyone from budding gardeners, to people who are interested in the environment, or families looking to get out for some fresh air and exercise – you just need to decide where in the world to begin.”

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Keith MansCllr Keith Mans

Visitors can start their journey at the Centenary Border – one of the longest double borders in the UK – which features more than 30,000 flowers, shrubs and trees.

There they will find flowers from as far afield as: Mexico, such as the bright red Illicium; Spain, where Giant Feather Grass originates; and South Africa, home to the striking Canna Durban with big orange flowers and pink-veined leaves.

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Holidaymakers can stroll through Acer Valley and relax under the shade of Japanese Maples, whose leaves are sheltered from the sun by the mature oaks above.

The Gardens are home to the Gurkha Memorial Garden, which holds a collection of Nepal’s unique flora, including pink and white coloured Birch trees.

Hot and cold takeaway food and drinks are also available to buy from the Tilia Tree Café and the Munch Buggy at the Visitor Pavilion, between 10am and 5pm daily.

Customers are encouraged to make card and contactless payments.

Visits to Sir Harold Hillier Gardens must be pre-booked in advance online.

For more information about the Gardens visit: http://www.hants.gov.uk/hilliergardens