The Tatsfield Horticultural Annual Wisley Visit
Saturday, May 21st 2022 at 10 am
22 people arrived at the RHS Wisley Gardens ready for our group entry at 10 am. It is an event we arrange every year as we are allowed one visit for up to 40 people with free entry with our affiliation to the RHS.
Wisley is the flagship garden of the RHS and one of the most visited and loved gardens attracting over a million visitors a year. There are 75 gardeners, 25 students and 4 apprentices, and over 100 volunteers. The gardens cover an area of 240 acres.
George Fergusson Wilson, a keen grower of fruit and orchids, bought the garden in 1878. After Wilson’s death, Sir Thomas Hanbury purchased the garden along with a neighbouring farm and donated it to the RHS.
Fortunately, the weather was warm for our visit; the sun was shining and I was greeted with lots of happy faces ready for the delightful experience which lay ahead. Some people had not visited since the new entrance has been created, and it really has turned out to be quite a feat of engineering. We are allowed to enter the gardens with the allocated tickets, as and when you wish and not as a group. Some of us enjoyed coffees and then entered.
I was accompanying Syliva Hyett, and we teamed up with Sandy and Jon Allbutt. We were very fortunate, as we had our expert horticulturist on hand. The Stars of the Show on entering the peonies and we made sure we took lots of photos.
Sauntering on at our leisure we came across the massive 12 metres high Glass House, built to celebrate the RHS bicentenary. It covers an area equal to 10 tennis courts. Jon described the glasshouse construction and it was very interesting to hear how it was built and used recycled glass from the previous glasshouse. There was a vast pelargonium collection which showed how many different varieties and colours there are. The Tropical plants were enormous and unbelievable that you could be standing in such a jungle setting. We read that robins and wagtails are able to operate the automatic opening vents and make their nests in there – clever birds. There is also a Dry Arid garden section which is full of cactus and succulents.
Coming outside again for fresh air we walked over to the new Science Research block, called Hilltop. The views from the upper levels enticed us to stop for lunch-sandwiches and ice lollies. This building opened in 2021 and is home to their Scientists who are hard at work researching the issues that affect our everyday lives.
We wandered on to view the rose beds, but it is still a little early to get the full impact, but we were greeted with the Wisteria Arches in full bloom, complemented with the purple sensation alliums.
No visit is complete without a stop at the shop and garden centre. This time there were no purchases made, however.