RHS Wisley in Surrey, UK

RHS Wisley in Surrey, UK
The kids know my penchant for gardening and flowers. Infact I spend all my time weeding and gardening in my son David’s home in Woking, UK and they wait for me to come to get their garden all ready for the summer. So on Sunday David’s wife said, “let’s go and visit RHS Wisley. The spring display is stunning and you love roses, so this is the season for them.”

The Royal Horticultural Society's garden at Wisley in the English county of Surrey south of London, is one of five gardens run by the Society, Wisley is the second most visited paid entry garden in the United Kingdom after the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Wisley was founded by Victorian businessman and RHS member George Ferguson Wilson, who purchased a 60-acre site in 1878. Wilson died in 1902 and Oakwood was purchased by Sir Thomas Hanbury. He gave the Wisley site to the RHS in 1903.Wisley is now a large and diverse garden covering 240 acres in addition to numerous formal and informal decorative gardens, several glasshouses and an extensive arboretum. In 2017, according to the net, the garden welcomed 1,143,175 visitors.

Rashme had just got the new cards for the entrance and so the family cost 35 pounds for all of us as entrance. Mind boggling for me coming from India with the pound bordering on Rs 100, but the UK is frightfully expensive and so family tickets are the best way to go.

As we entered the Wisteria were what caught the eye, in full bloom at the entrance gate itself. It was wonderful to see it trained so well by skilled horticulturalists, especially since I was cutting it off as a weed in my other sons garden in the US. The mauve bunches of flowers lit up the otherwise sombre looking shrub.

Then came the rhododendrons in a variety of sizes and colours. I particularly love rhododendrons as they remind me of our two years in Shillong in the North East of India where my father was posted. It was there that we were introduced to the vigour and vitality of the flowering plant which had been brought in by the British.

The Glass House was full of plants which reminded me of home. There were Bananas, hibiscus, a massive collection of orchids and tons of foliage which are well known back in Bangalore. Infact when my son was first taken to Kew, he just looked at all the plants and cooly remarked -- “ Oh! These plants are all growing in my grandfather’s house in India.” It is true and I never fail to remember with a chuckle when I visit. Ofcourse the Brits have built a Glass House in Bangalore, a sort of replica to the one here in the UK.

For me, the Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden was the most scented experience ever.I have visited Wisley when the Mixed Borders are in full bloom, the Rock Garden and the Exotic Garden are stunning, but the Rose garden was only budding and not in bloom. This time the roses were spilling out in all their glory and there is nothing quite like a scented English Rose. I know, I have planted one in my sons garden three years ago and it’s stunningly beautiful and the most gorgeous part of the garden. Pinks and purples, reds and peach and ofcourse pristine white roses spilled out all over the garden. My grand daughter and I had our noses stuck in most of the blooms as we walked through the stunning display. She collected tons of petals which she hoped to make a rose liquer and instead just crushed them to pulp in her hot little hands.

RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey, one of the UK’s most visited and best-loved gardens.Wisley was given to the RHS in 1903 and is now a hub of horticultural excellence and a top visitor attraction,240 acres to explore. It is home to some of the largest plant collections anywhere in the globe and showcases inspirational gardening. Planting schemes are constantly evolving to ensure there's always something new to excite and inspire visitors.

The key highlights include The Glasshouse, Rock Garden, Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden, The Mixed Borders and the newly-created Exotic Garden. And I know I will be visiting every time I come to the UK.

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