Nymans is an English garden in Handcross, Sussex. It was developed, starting in the late 19th century, by three generations of the Messel family, and was brought to renown by Leonard Messel.
In 1953 Nymans became a National Trust property. Nymans is the origin of many sports, selections and hybrids, both planned and serendipitous, some of which can be identified by the term nymansensis, “of Nymans”. Eucryphia × nymansensis (E. cordifolia × E. glutinosa) is also known as E. “Nymansay”. Magnolia × loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’, Camellia ‘Maud Messel’ and Forsythia suspensa ‘Nymans’, with its bronze young stems, are all familiar shrub to gardeners.
In the late 19th century, Ludwig Messel, a member of a German Jewish family, settled in England and bought the Nymans estate, a house with 600 acres on a sloping site overlooking the picturesque High Weald of Sussex. There he set about turning the estate into a place for family life and entertainment, with an Arts and Crafts-inspired garden room where topiary features contrast with new plants from temperate zones around the world. Messel’s head gardener from 1895 was James Comber, whose expertise helped form plant collections at Nymans of camellias, rhododendrons, which unusually at the time were combined with planting heather (Erica) eucryphias and magnolias. William Robinson advised in establishing the Wild Garden.
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