We have many interesting and beautiful plants associated with the famous Nymans garden in West Sussex in England – Eucryphia ‘Nymansay’ and Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ are probably the two best known and most widely grown. There is also a Camellia ‘Maud Messel’ and a Forsythia suspensa ‘Nymans’ but a particularly beautiful Nymans plant with an Irish connection, and in flower at the moment, is Magnolia ‘Anne Rosse.’
Ludwig Messel bought the Nymans estate in the late 19th century. The property came to his son Leonard Messell in 1915 and he continued to develop the garden as one of the foremost in England. The Messels contributed to the plant collecting expeditions of Ernest Wilson and were among the first to grow and flower the magnificent magnolias he introduced as seed from China.
Over the years there have been many beautiful accidental and deliberate crosses made at Nymans and Magnolia ‘Anne Rosse’ was one of these latter, a cross between Magnolia denudate and Magnolia sargentiana var robusta (one of the original Ernest Wilson introductions) and was named for Leonard Messel’s daughter, Anne.
Anne Messell married Laurence Parsons, 6th Earl of Rosse, and is mother of Brendan Parsons, the present 7th Earl of Rosse, of Birr Castle. Magnolia ‘Anne Rosse’ is in full flower at present in Mount Congreve gardens and is a sight worth seeing with its large pink bowl-shaped flowers.