Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Wandering around Wisley

Last week I joined people from our village Horticultural Society for a visit to the gardens of the Royal Horticultural Society at Wisley. I've been a member of the society for nearly 40 years (crikey, where does the time go?!) and used to be a regular visitor when we lived closer but hadn't been there for over 17 years, the last time being with mum before dementia took her away completely.

It must have been in the autumn as the leaves are turning and mum's wearing a warm hat. I love how her outfit matches the autumnal leaves! Seeing her smiling like that makes me rather emotional and I wish we could go back to times like that as we used to love visiting gardens together and it was mum who imbued in me a deep love of nature and gardening.

In my last post there was a photo of the back of the main building and this is the view looking away from the building. I love how they'd mowed a wavy pattern into the grass.

There are so many areas to explore and we just wandered around taking in the views, stopping to examine interesting plants and generally soaking up the atmosphere.

The glasshouse is really something special and it houses the most amazing exotic plants, many of which are sold as houseplants here in the UK but in there grow to their natural size, i.e. massive!

It was completed in 2007 and so it was the first time I'd seen it in real life. Huge is the word that sprang to mind! It's ridges are 41ft high with a display area equivalent to 10 tennis courts.

Outside the entrance there was a table full of insect-eating plants:

Inside it was really humid with an amazing array of exotic plants.

I love these air plants - so-called because their roots are not in the ground but in the air and they use other plants for support
 There were hundreds of exotic flowers, including many different orchids.

This one was nick-named the 'lobster claw' flower for obvious reasons!
This huge palm was nearly touching the roof already and we wondered what they would do when it did reach the top
Another carnivorous plant, this time a Nepenthes of some sort. I used to grow one in our bathroom as they need a humid atmosphere
Anyone looking for design or pattern inspiration could have a field day in here. What a beautiful pattern on the trunk of this Philodendron Selloum
There were also 'learning zones' and I loved this subterranean one made to illustrate what goes on underground.

There were lots of different videos showing all manner of thing from pollenating insects to pests and diseases. Very interesting and a great way to catch the attention of younger visitors.

A side view of the glasshouse
I took many, many photos so will restrict myself to just  a few:

I liked the idea of a gently sloping pebble beach around the edge of this informal pond
I was admiring the magnificent Gunneras across the lake when I noticed the 2 sculptures of herons placed in the water
The area around the glasshouse has been landscaped using 'Prairie style' planting but I didn't like it much as I don't think that style should be restricted in shaped beds. I am a great admirer of Piet Oudorf but prefer large swathes of plants in an area unfettered by boundaries
Another view of the glasshouse taken at the top of the hill and showing the huge beds either side
I took lots of photos of plants that interested me but my blog will grind to a halt if uploaded all 72 of them so I'll just show this one simple rose. I love yellow roses and this one is 'Mrs Oakley Fisher'. I wondered who she is/was. Such a soft buttery yellow with a very pretty centre.

We had the most glorious weather and were able to enjoy our lunch sitting outside which always feels special doesn't it. There was also a fabulous plant centre to mooch around but their prices were pretty expensive so I was very restrained. We also wandered into the gift shop which was another temptation as they have a very good book section.

Before we headed back to the coach we managed to sneak in a cup of tea with cake which we snaffled before I thought to take a photo so I took a photo of the pretty sempervivum which was on our table instead!

On the way home I crocheted lots of different edges on the mandala, undoing each one until I got just what I wanted.

We had been very lucky with the traffic on the way there and even on the way back until we were just 4 miles from home when the traffic came to a standstill. My heart sank as I could see vehicles turning around and going another way. Apparently there had been a multi-vehicle crash up ahead and the whole road was closed. We all hoped no-one had been badly injured. The coach driver was an absolute star and managed to turn it around on a rather narrow stretch of road and took us through the back lanes to get home safely. Of course even the back lanes are busy as people tried to find a way around the obstruction but we were soon home safe and sound.

Next will be either our visit to the exhibition of British Folk art or Nellie, or the mandala………...

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