A Road Trip - Episode two - RHS Wisley

It has been a while since I had been to RHS Wisley, quite a while.  Looking back I think it is actually ten years which is even longer than I had thought.  When originally planning this road trip day two was not going to be visiting Wisley, we had other gardens on the list but there had to be a change of route (more of which in Episode three) that meant we had to reconsider our plans.  Wisley should not be really be considered that far from home, but the traffic means that getting there can be quite an ordeal.  So we decided we would go, both of us needed to refresh our memories of this garden. 

Now I would have told you that I had forgotten a lot of Wisley.  I can remember the house frontage but all the rest felt a bit different.  Now I know it is ten years since my last visit I have no idea if it is my memory that is faulty (which frankly it is a lot of the time) or that much has change or a combination of both.  I have plumped for the final option as the reason.
I was distracted by Smoke bushes before I had got out of the carpark.  A much maligned shrub I think.  They are associated with car park planting (yes yes, I know this is near the car park) but look how good they can look.  
After queuing a little to get in (not too long) and then having a coffee and a donut (compulsory) we set off to explore.  First we headed to the walk through the conifers.  Look at this wonderous specimen.  I would love this sprawling in my garden like some sort of benevolent hairy beastie.
and then we walked through the heathers.  I am quite a fan of heathers, they are often flowering when other plants are not so are great for pollinators.  I was once told they were old lady plants - well bring it on!  I embrace the goodness that old lady plants deliver.
It felt like it was getting drier and more drought friendly gardening the further we walked.
and then we reached the cafe at the end of the universe, no, sorry, but it did feel like the furthest cafe partnered with this magnificent Stone Pine.  Look at the height of it!  
We then walked along the river to the glasshouse.  'One of those panes of glass is mine' I said, which is what is generally known as a lie, maybe an inch of putty holding in a pane of glass is mine.  I did donate to the building of the glasshouse, but let's be clear here:  the RHS do not have me on their signficant donors list.  Every little helps.....
We spent a lot of time in the glasshouse, we explored it and explored it.
'oohs'  and 'aahs were exclaimed.  'Look at that one', and 'oh I like that'.  Plant labels were photographed, badly, to not act as good memory prompts after all.
I mean, just look at this fantabulous plant, 
You have to love a plant called 'Wavy Gravy'.
Yes  I did just buy one of these from Hampton Court Garden Festival, I had been to Wisley the week previously.
and I am still after one of these, label not found.
We had the best of wanderings in the glasshouse and whilst it was not a cold day, it was not too hot either, so we could spend some time in there happily.
Look at this beauty: Solandra maxima.
and this spiky corner.
and I want this pelagonium too, though I was a little unclear which label belonged to it.
Then out we went to continue our explorations.  
We had lunch in the new World Garden area and admired all the different types of food they had growing.
We paused at the sweetpea trials to inhale the scent and make unscientific judgements on the various blooms. 
and we marvelled at this horses head sculpture which definitely far away, not small.  
The relatively new (I think it is relatively new) exotic garden was enjoyed.  Lots of great plants that just need to knit together a little more.  Its a little too tidy for me at the moment, but I am sure time will deal with that.
We meandered into the alpine and crevice garden area.
This fabulous dianthus erinaceus looks like a mini Telly-Tubby land.
and then through the big rock garden area which I think was being restored when I was last here and then we circled back to find the car.

We were there several hours and it was a great visit.  I found so much to look at and whilst I do sometimes think RHS gardens are a little too perfect for me (I am so far from perfect it makes me a little nervous) this time I did not feel quite so overwhelmed by this.  I came away inspired by the glasshouse in particular and we lots and lots to talk about as we set off for the next stage of our journey.
Ignore the toilet sign - admire the smokebush.

Do not confuse smokebush for toilet.

As said above, originally after Gravetye we were going to turn left, but we turned right and headed for Winchester as a stop off point on the way to our final day destination.  Were we excited about our last day - oh yes.

Take care and be kind.

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