A family visit in late December to RHS Garden Wisley provided my first glimpse of snowdrops and brightened up a cold rainy winter’s day. It has been on my must see list for a while now and Wisley didn’t disappoint on what it is renowned for – an amazing collection of planting displays and mature grounds which for sheer scale alone can’t fail to impress!
A delicious hot meal on arrival at the restaurant kept us warm as we walked along the immaculately kept pathways, stopping to appreciate the different varieties of pine trees and in particular a striking reed like plant which ran along the side of a large pond. It seemed to glow as if lit up from below due to the bright red and silver stems making up its foliage and is officially known as Salix alba var. vitellina ‘Yelveton’.
Then we came upon the Glasshouse, a giant of a building taking up the floor space of 10 tennis courts where you can marvel at the diverse collection of plants found in warmer climates. Definitely a highlight of my visit – from the extensive collection of desert cacti to the abundantly flowering passion flower hanging down from the rooftops. Plus it provided a much needed escape from the cold and a chance to thaw out for an hour!
Another highlight was the Rock Garden and one of the first areas to be landscaped here in 1910. Set against large sandstone rocks are alpine plants, small weeping trees and dwarf conifers. Along the pathways carved into this north facing hillside you discover little pools and waterfalls.
Attracting many visitors at the time of my visit was a festival of light and as we were leaving, the artificial floral sculptures floating on the various lakes and ponds and those dotted around the grounds gave a reassuring warm glow in the fading winter light.
A return visit is definitely on the cards – Spring seeming an obvious time of year but it just might have to be sooner as I’ve found out there is a butterfly event taking place from now until the 4th March in the Glasshouse!