I love Twitter and Instagram for different reasons. Instagram for the pictures obviously and Twitter for information, top tips and a bit of banter. Often Twitter will remind you of things that you should do. Places to go. People to see. That’s how we ended up going to RHS Garden Wisley today. I love twitter for the gardening folk I follow and who are always there to point you in the right direction to a plant or a garden, help with some advice, identify an unknown plant that may have appeared in the garden and to generally talk plants.
So following a tweet from @jackwallington who had been to Wisley earlier in the week I decided that after a 25 year absence a visit was long overdue. Finding my membership card was an adventure but find it I did. I wont mention my RHS disasters this week in deleting my print at home Chelsea and Chatsworth tickets. Ill save that for another day.
Fighting the Bank Holiday traffic through South London reminded me why we generally don’t travel over a Bank Holiday weekend but I was determined. I had started so we wold finish.
Busy. Was the car park busy. So busy we were sent to the overflow car park but despite my grumbling i was rather glad.
The walk from the car park was simply gorgeous. Bluebells were out everywhere like a beautiful carpet of blue loveliness. We would have missed this bit of the garden had we parked close to the main entrance. So every cloud and all that.
Typically Ian was 30 paces ahead. You’d think that after all this time he wouldngave notnbeen so embarrassed to be out with me ! But i had to stop not just for the bluebells but for the other delights that were begging to be photographed. I hadn’t been here for over 25 years remember.
The garden was busy. We realised only after we arrived that there was a craft fair in the grounds. A pretty decent fair to be honest and full of some top quality stuff. I was swiftly moved on through the garden toward the glasshouse, after a sausage bap!
I love a good glass house. This one didn’t disappoint and was somewhere to get a little inspiration for our new mediterannean garden.
It’s great to see the unusual and interesting and there were definetly some of those here. The bird of Paradise plant so high it had a sign that said this is not a banana plant. The plant whose buds looked like a great big fat nose and opened into a simply gorgeous flower – solandra Maxima – a blue brugisima, a protea as big as a dinner plate. Orchids which remind me of orchids bought in Castle Cary from another Instagram friend @ridgewayfarm when she had then best gardening shop ever, oh and the clivias also reminded me of her too – she introduced me to them too and one sat in mine and my friend Janes office for years.
The big pots of Agapanthus were further on than mine but then again they are in a glasshouse. Mine are in pots in South London. So they would be wouldn’t they! I wonder how many bags of Lou’s Poo they would need here.
Outside the glass house is a Prairie garden. I’m spoilt in that we have the wonderful Piet Oudolf garden at Hauser and Wirth Somerset just down the road in Bruton but I love them. Not so much in Spring to be honest but later in the season. The planting I know at Bruton is stunning and there are glimpses here that show what it will be like later in the season.\
There is so much to see and not enough time in one visit to take it all in n The fruit garden is full of the most amazing espaliers of all fruit types, apples pears medlars. The rows of apples some still in bloom some with fruit setting are like great long avenues. The planting is amazing with long avenues of paths to walk through.
Great big beds of Rhubarb. They hold the National Plant collection – with enournmous leaves and pink fleshy stalks, some being forced. The produce bing used in the restaurant and in Jams to be sold at the shop. I sisnt look to see if any rhubarb was for sale. Would have been good to have tasted a variety that you don’t usually get at the greengrocer
To be honest you get lost in the size and scale and the beautiful way it is presented. I can’t remember much about my previous visit ‘ may be I wasn’t as interested in the planting and the plants themselves then. But we were both impressed.
The perennial beds [ mixed borders] on either side of the sweeping walk to the top of the hill look like they will be exceptional in the summer. The borders are springing to life with the alliums starting to pop into bloom in little drifts and singularly throughout the beds. Like tulips it looks like this year will be good for alliums too. The borders are massive – the website says ‘ a sweeping 420ft’ – imagine the plant buying for that. They leave the beds to their own devices. No watering – no good for me – i would have to be out there with the hose constantly.
Having recently stayed at Ard Daraich in Scotland I was keen to see the rhododendrons and the azaleas. The flowers were more advanced than Scotland and again the planting and the paths between them encouraged you to walk through. I still find the buds as fascinating as the flowers themselves and I was even more appreacitive of the guided tour of the Scottish garden given to me by Norrioe Maclaren when we were there.
Onto an area where I loved the colour palette of the planting. The last of the tulips- bright red with the start of the alliums. Simply lovely and a bed I would love to have.
This is a glorious view away from the house along the canal with the Henry Moore sculpture, King and Queen and the beds of lovely scented wallflowers. my window box of wallflowers has an abundance of leaves and only two flowers. Those two yellow flowers smell glorious. Busy i was expecting a bit more!
Neither of us had any knowledge of the history of RHS Wisley and its interesting to see that it was gifted to the RHS in 1903
Another cuppa tea. A scone and cream. Jam first of course. A wander to purchase some plants – only one today a philadelphus Belle Etoille which we had in the Somerset garden years ago. I even think Ian was impressed. One plant only. That’s progress. He doesn’t know about the ones I bought earlier in the week,
Was it worth the drive. The traffic. Running into ex colleagues. Definetly and thanks Jack!
Some more random photos.