The Story of the Exbury/Vico Nerines
Lionel de Rothschild
Sir Peter Smithers
Lionel de Rothschild acquired many nerines throughout the 1920s and '30s and with judicious hybridization, a specialty of his, significantly improved on the strain. The Exbury Nerines continued to grow here at Exbury until the 1970s when the collection was sold off.
This he did most spectacularly. His selection process was rigorous, all new seedlings had to undergo the 'Beauty Contest' which was held each autumn on the balcony of his house. His friends were invited to form a jury and were asked to forget about any consideration other than beauty as they saw it.