RHS Garden Wisley

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Wisley Gardens were certainly in 'full bloom' when we visited in early June.

It was my first visit so I was looking forward to seeing this much talked about garden which was given to the RHS in 1903 and since, been developed and added to over the years. With over 200 acres, it is known as one of the great gardens of the world.

The car park is very large, and needs to be, to cope with the many visitors. Wisley is open daily, apart from Christmas Day. We arrived at 11am in the morning, an hour after opening time. RHS members enjoy free entry but non members have to pay £12.20 (£11 excluding Gift Aid) for adults. Children aged 5 – 16 are £5.25 (£4.75 excluding Gift Aid). A family ticket is £31.50 (£28.50 exc. Gift Aid). During the year there are a range of events which include family activities, walks, talks, courses and demonstrations.

As you pass through the main ticket entrance, a large canal pond with wonderful water lilies, stretches out in the foreground, with neatly, manicured lawns each side and a water fountain at the far end. The varieties of lilies include, Perry's Pink, John Wedgewood, Maria, Formosa, and others. It is worth stopping for a while, sitting on one of the benches and just taking in the wonderful scene before you.

There is such colour and inspiration as you stroll around the planting combinations with their imaginative flair and design. Wonderful summer borders and blooming, scented rose gardens won't disappoint you. Then there are the beautiful meadows with wild vivacious poppies and cornflowers, as well as tall grasses.

The Bicentenary Glasshouse, overlooking a lake, is certainly 'one of a kind' – so enormous, covering three quarters of an acre and containing 3 climatic zones. It houses over 5,000 different varieties of tropical plants.

Paul Cumbleton is in charge of alpines at Wisley, where a new rock garden is taking shape Thin, jagged slices of sandstone are stacked vertically, giving an amazing effect. This new crevice garden is designed to be easy maintained.

Also to be enjoyed are the the vegetable garden and orchard.

In the food hall you can try some Wisley-grown and Wisley-baked produce. As well as new ideas, you can still enjoy classic recipes, either indoors or outdoors. There is also the Glasshouse Café and the Garden Grill. We chose a very large, tasty bap filled with sausage and bacon sitting outside the Garden Grill with a lovely cold drink. Tables and chairs are spread out, so you can opt to either sit in the sun, or choose a shady nook!

A wonderful day and somewhere I would like to return, especially in a different season to see the contrasts.

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